Robert Downey Jr. discusses his experience in jail, calling it the “worst thing that ever happened to me.”



  • The worst thing, according to Robert Downey Jr., was his time spent in prison.
  • Downey speaks candidly on the difficulties of being incarcerated

Robert Downey Jr. has become one of the most recognizable names in the business, but in Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster movie Oppenheimer, he once again demonstrated his value. But in the 1990s, it was a period when the actor was going through an emotional and mental struggle. He previously talked about his experience being locked up and the repercussions that the prison system had on him.

Opens up about his time in jail, Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr. said that his 1999 imprisonment was a crucial and transformative event in his life. On Monday’s episode of the Armchair Expert podcast, the Iron Man actor talked about his 1999 stint in jail among other topics. Downey recalls being over-sentenced by an angry judge. He explains that he was sent to North Kern State Prison in Delano, California, describing it as a receiving center where they decide where you’re going to go,and establishing that it is arguably the most dangerous place I’ve ever been in my life, with the only justification being that all different kinds of inmates are kept there.

According to the 58-year-old, individuals could just “feel the darkness in the air, and that was not an issue at all because it was somewhat like just being in an extremely bad neighborhood.” He characterized it as a location with “potential there. Threats were all there was.

Prison, according to Robert Downey Jr., is the most transformational experience

Downey talked on encountering difficult situations while incarcerated, including a funny event in which he mistakenly entered a shower with his underpants on backward, causing others to giggle. He was then moved to the State Prison and Substance Abuse Treatment Facility in California. It reportedly took him around two weeks to accept the truth of his situation.

He said, after thinking back on his experiences, We are programmed to, within a short amount of time, be able to adjust to things that are seemingly impossible. Even worse things may have happened to the actor, he said, than being sent to an institution, for sure. He underlined that we can only evaluate our experiences in light of the information we now possess, and from his current perspective, that was the worst thing that happened to me. When Robert Downey Jr. was incarcerated, he saw that people were less inclined to attack them if they gave off the impression that they were eager to do damage.

Due to multiple court-ordered drug tests that Downey failed in relation to a 1996 cocaine possession case, the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison sentenced him to three years in prison in 1999. However, he only spent a year behind bars since he was given an early release in 2000 under the condition that he post bail.

Oppenheimer, the latest movie starring Robert Downey Jr., has amassed over $550 million at the box office.


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