The Truth About Johnny Depp And Robert Downey Jr.'s Friendship

This article contains descriptions of addiction and domestic violence. 

Johnny Depp and Robert Downey Jr. are almost the same age and came up in Hollywood during the same decade. At 58, Depp is one year older than Downey. Both men have created iconic characters that spawned movie franchises. Depp stunned fans with Jack Sparrow, turning "Pirates of the Caribbean" into a blockbuster movie franchise. Downey Jr. sent fans into a frenzy as Tony Stark in "Iron Man," becoming the "father" of the Marvel Creative Universe. Downey Jr. told Parade he was in a "feverish-almost-like-a-waking dream" when he prepped for "Iron Man." The MCU star said, "I just presumed that it was my destiny to build this character around all of my experiences."

In an interview with Collider, Depp explained that Disney executives were unhappy with how he played Jack Sparrow in the first "Pirates" movie. Depp said, "I put it to them that they were welcome to fire me or replace me if they wanted because I wasn't going to change what I had built. I believed in what I'd built, I believed in the character wholeheartedly and I felt I was onto something."  CNBC reported that "Pirates of the Caribbean" is one of the top film franchises, earning $4.5 billion for five movies. The outlet noted that "Iron Man" kicked off 23 movies in 12 years for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, earning over $22 billion.

But what's the truth about Depp and Downey Jr.'s friendship?

Johnny Depp and Robert Downey Jr. have been friends for decades

Johnny Depp and Robert Downey Jr. have been friends for many years. Downey Jr. and Depp's friendship goes back decades; they came up in Hollywood together and were known for outrageous behavior as well as issues with anger and addiction. Depp's spokesman told The New York Post that the "Iron Man" star FaceTimed Depp after the verdict was announced in the defamation case. "John, thank God it's over," Downey Jr. congratulated the "Pirates of the Caribbean" star via FaceTime.

OK! reported the "Avengers: End Game" star has supported Depp through the "Pirates" actor's tough times. In 2020, Downey Jr. praised Depp to the outlet, "There's nobody I admire more. We've known each other a million years. We came up through the ranks together." OK! reported that Downey Jr. was pushing to bring Depp on board for the third "Sherlock Holmes" movie. A source told the outlet, "Bob wants Johnny on board, come hell or high water."

After battling drug addiction and spending time in jail, Downey Jr.'s career was considered radioactive in the late 90s and 2000s. But he skyrocketed back to the A-list after the success of 2008's "Iron Man," making Downey Jr. one of Hollywood's highest-paid actors. But the two actors have another thing in common.

Johnny Depp and Robert Downey Jr. share troubled childhoods

The tragic story of Robert Downey Jr. could be a movie. Raised by parents who used drugs, he became addicted as a young man. In a 2014 Vanity Fair interview, the "Iron Man" actor revealed he shared his first joint with his dad when he was six or seven. Downey Jr. said, "I've heard of people that had impossible-to-defend childhoods, and I say, 'You had an interesting childhood.' And occasionally it's the folks who have had the most quote-unquote interesting childhoods and the most here-come-the-sirens idiosyncratic dispositions who push [the boundaries]."

Depp and Downey Jr. share a violent, painful childhood in common. People reported on Depp's childhood abuse. The actor described his mother as "violent" and "cruel." He testified at the defamation trial, "The verbal abuse, the psychological abuse, was almost worse than the beatings. The beatings were just physical pain. The physical pain, you learn to deal with. You learn to accept it. You learn to deal with it."

Downey Jr. told People, "The past for me was 30 years of dependency, depravity, and despair ... The present is this moment of glory for all of us. And the future...? That is always uncertain," he explained. "But looking at these friends behind me — it seems like things might brighten up after all."

If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to