() — Robert Downey Jr. hasn’t always been “Iron Man.”
There was a time in the 1990s when the actor battled addiction and had many legal problems.
During a recent conversation for the Armchair Expert podcast of Dax Shepard, Downey spoke of being in prison in 1999, something he likened to “being sent to a faraway planet where there’s no way to come home until the planets align.”
“You could feel the evil in the air, and that wasn’t a problem because it was like being in a really bad neighborhood,” he said. “There were no opportunities there. Only threats.”
Downey Jr.’s problems with the law are well documented.
In 1996 he was arrested for possession of heroin, cocaine and an unloaded 357 Magnum. He was given three years of probation and required to submit to drug tests.
A year later, he failed a court-ordered drug test and spent nearly four months in Los Angeles County jail.
In 1999, he again failed another drug test and was sentenced to three years in prison. Downey served 15 months in Corcoran State Prison, California.
Four months after his release, he was arrested over Thanksgiving weekend for alleged possession of cocaine and valium and for being under the influence. The valium possession charge was eventually reduced to a misdemeanor, he pleaded not guilty to the rest of the charges and avoided further jail time.
He was also arrested in April 2000 after Los Angeles police found him wandering down an alley.
Downey Jr., sober and long-time successful, described on the podcast how deeply disturbed he was at the time.
“I’m going to try to explain the basics,” he said. “I’m in court, I’m being oversentenced by an angry judge, and at some point he said something in Latin. I thought he was putting a spell on me.”
According to the Marvel star, two weeks later he was in Delano, “a reception center where they decide where you go” which he said was “possibly the most dangerous place I’ve been in my life because they don’t appoint anyone “.
“I remember coming out at one point when I jumped out of my cell to go to the shower, by the way, this would be the best date, and I didn’t know it, but I was a little lopsided and had my underwear on backwards,” Downey Jr recalled. “I remember getting some giggles and loud boos from my fellow inmates.”
And while he described his imprisonment as “the worst thing that’s ever happened to me,” the Downey said he was eventually able to adjust and survive.
“We are programmed to adapt in a short time to things that seem impossible,” he said.
Downey is the host of “Downey’s Dream Cars,” a docuseries that premieres Thursday on Max, owned by ‘s parent company.