Robert Downey Jr. Talks Family ‘Dysfunction’ After Son’s Cocaine Bust

“Can you help someone get out of those woods? Yes, you can,” the “Avengers” star says

Robert Downey Jr. covers Vanity Fair
Sam Jones exclusively for Vanity Fair

Robert Downey Jr. has said it before, and he’s saying it again: Addiction is a “family problem.”

The “Iron Man” and “Avengers” star opened up to Vanity Fair about his demons — and those his 21-year-old son, Indio Downey, appeared to have inherited. Indio was arrested in Los Angeles last June for cocaine possession.

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“He’s his mother’s son and my son, and he’s come up the chasm much quicker than we did,” Downey said in the October issue’s cover story. “But that’s typical in the Information Age; things get accelerated. You’re confronted with histories and predispositions and influences and feelings and unspoken traumas or needs that weren’t met, and all of a sudden you’re three miles into the woods.”

“Can you help someone get out of those woods? Yes, you can. By not getting lost looking for them,” Downey continued. “Pick a dysfunction and it’s a family problem.”

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Downey had his own public battle with drugs, and spent time at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison because of it. Ultimately, though, Downey suggests time is the best way to conquer addiction.

“For some folks it’s just a function of age,” Downey said. “It’s perfectly normal for people to be obsessive about something for a period of time, then leave it alone.”

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He did, however, offer more immediate advice for those struggling to overcome drug addiction.

“Job one is get out of that cave. A lot of people do get out but don’t change,” Downey said. “So the thing is to get out and recognize the significance of that aggressive denial of your fate, come through the crucible forged into a stronger metal.”

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Here’s the actor’s full Vanity Fair cover:

Sam Jones exclusively for Vanity Fair
Sam Jones exclusively for Vanity Fair