Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Robert Downey Jr pens touching tribute to late mother: "She was my role model"

hero2.jpg
hero3.jpg

Robert Downey Jr has written a moving tribute to his mother on his Facebook page following the news of her death on Monday last week, writing, "If anyone out there has a mother, and she's not perfect, please call her and say you love her anyway".

He goes onto chronicle her career as an actress, her battles with alcohol addiction and how she ultimately inspired him to become sober after his own struggles.

"My mom passed away early this week....I wanna say something about her life, and a generic "obit" won't suffice," the actor began his public tribute to his mother, Elsie Ann Ford, who died on Monday 22 September at the age of 80 after suffering a cardiac arrest.

"In the mid '50s, she dropped out of college and headed to NY, with dreams of becoming a comedienne," the Iron-Man and Sherlock Holmes star wrote. He explained how in she met his father, the director and filmographer Robert Downey Sr in 1962, married him, and gave birth to his sister Allyson in 1963 and him in 1965.

The actor described his mother’s bold career inspired by the “underground counter-culture” of the 1960s, which included a film in which she played 17 different characters.

"By the mid '70s, the downside of drug culture caught up with many artists. She was an alcoholic," Downey Junior continued.

Her marriage and career subsequently suffered due to alcohol addiction and the actor recounted living with his mother after she had divorced his father.

"I remember living with her and her boyfriend Jonas, (who became a second father to me) in a 2 room 5 story walk up in Manhattan after that...Bunsen burner for a stove, cockroaches, broken dreams..."

His mother eventually sought treatment and by 1990 she was sober, though she continued to have health problems, he wrote. However by this point, Downey launched his own acting career and began suffering alcohol addiction himself.

"While I strived to have the kind of success that eluded her, my own addiction repeatedly forbade it." he wrote. "In the summer of 2004, I was in bad shape. She (his mother) called me out of the blue, and I admitted everything. I don't remember what she said, but I haven't drank or used since."

The actor then moved his mother to Los Angeles to be near him and his children, noting that ”she had a special affinity for my firstborn son Indio, and really got a kick out of (younger son) Exton." (Downey and his wife Susan are also expecting a baby girl in November.)

"She was my role model as an actor, and as a woman who got sober and stayed that way."

"My ambition, tenacity, loyalty, "moods," grandiosity, occasional passive aggression, and my faith... That's all her...and I wouldn't have it any other way."

Read Robert Downey Jr.'s full letter here

Robert Downey Jr. with his mother Elsie Downey and wife Susan Downey

Images: Rex Features, Getty, Robert Downey Jr/Facebook

Related

615x330-rexfeatures-4102795e.jpg

George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin marry in Venice

hero-fashion-round-up.jpg

Rosamund Pike, Kerry Washington and Sarah Jessica Parker star in this week's best dressed round-up

untitled-1.jpg

“Boobs on the ground”: Fox News presenters mock female pilot who led Isis bombing mission

hero.jpg

Is this the most star studded photo album ever?

North West.jpg

The famous A-list children who took a seat on the front row

love-letters.jpg

Poignant goodbye letters and moving messages of farewell

Comments

More

The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From Lady Gaga's supermarket sweep to backstage at the British Fashion Awards

by Nicola Colyer
06 Dec 2016

Lady Gaga opens up about her struggle with PTSD

The singer says she is still dealing with the psychological impact of being raped.

by Moya Crockett
06 Dec 2016

Bernardo Bertolucci responds to Last Tango in Paris backlash

"This is a ridiculous misunderstanding"

by Kayleigh Dray
06 Dec 2016

Madonna twerks up a storm with James Corden in new Carpool Karaoke

Watch this material girl get up on the… dashboard?

by Kayleigh Dray
06 Dec 2016

How three women transformed their lives in wake of the Ebola crisis

A burial worker, a farmer and a mechanic on making it in a man's world

by Sarah Biddlecombe
05 Dec 2016

Jennifer Aniston reprises her role as Friends’ Rachel in epic video

It’s probably the closest we’re ever going to get to a Friends reunion

by Kayleigh Dray
05 Dec 2016

Amy Schumer to play Barbie in new live-action movie

But trolls have already slammed her as “too fat” for the role

by Kayleigh Dray
05 Dec 2016

Director admits controversial rape scene was real-life sexual assault

“I wanted her reaction as a girl, not as an actress”

by Kayleigh Dray
05 Dec 2016

The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From Reese Witherspoon's birthday shout-out to the Beckhams' glam evening

by Nicola Colyer
02 Dec 2016

Jessica Chastain on how she learned to love being a redhead

The actress used to struggle with low self-esteem as a result of her fiery locks.

by Moya Crockett
02 Dec 2016