What Is So Special About Susan Levin That She Became “The Miracle That Saved Robert Downey Jr.”
Behind Robert Downey Jr.’s joyful smile and silly nature hide the remnants of a dark past. 20 years ago, the actor was struggling with addiction and watching his career slowly slip away. Today, he’s nearly 2 decades sober and enjoys the status of one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood. But none of this could’ve been possible without his wife and savior Susan Levin.
We at Bright Side wanted to learn more about how a woman’s love can manifest into a success story. Here’s Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Levin’s love story filled with pain, triumphs, and overwhelming adoration.
Robert Downey Jr.’s addiction stemmed from his childhood.
Robert Downey Jr. grew up with a father who struggled with addiction himself. This example from a parental figure did something to his young psyche and later led to a life full of struggles and regret.
In his teenage years, Robert showed an interest in acting and had no issue landing roles using his bad boy charm. Success didn’t make him wait long, and in 1992 he was already nominated for the Oscar for Best Actor, for his performance in Chaplin. Downey Jr. was only 27 years old at the time.
And as RDJ’s professional life blossomed, his bad habits did as well.
The actor hit his lowest point in the late 90s.
Fame and money got into Downey Jr.’s head and dragged him toward making a lot of bad decisions. In 1996, he was arrested for the first time, which started a series of public blunders.
Over the course of 5 years, the actor was arrested over 4 times, spent 6 months in jail, and spent over a year in rehab. He somehow managed to do a few acting jobs here and there, but his career was plummeting fast.
In 2003, Robert slowed down and accepted a role in Gothica, which turned out to be the most fateful decision of his life, as it brought him together with his future wife.
Susan Levin appeared like a saving grace.
Susan Levin was a 29-year-old film producer when she met Robert Downey Jr. Their introduction to each other was anything but love at first sight. As a lifelong straight “A” student, who’s made only good decisions in her life, Levin viewed the problematic actor as “strange,” and didn’t for a second think about anything romantic with him.
However, something pulled Downey Jr. to Susan and so he, armed with his irresistible charm, got a date with her, and then another, and suddenly the 2 were dating.
Pure and bright-eyed Susan found herself in a completely unfamiliar world with Robert, who was still not on his best behavior. Levin once admitted that she had no prior experience with addicts before meeting him, and so many things were going over her head:
“Addiction was so foreign to me. I was incredibly ignorant of the hold it had on people.”
Downey Jr. believes it was Levin’s ignorance that gave him a shot with her, otherwise, she would’ve run long before things even started:
“If she knew the depths of my depravity, we would not be sitting here.”
So what convinced Susan Levin to see her relationship with RDJ through?
She saw good in RDJ and refused to give up on him.
Although all logic was against Robert and Susan being together, there was no going back once she got to know the real him. Levin’s heart was already set on the actor, only a few months into the relationship. She revealed:
“There was something in my gut that knew really quickly. I knew 3 months in that this was it.”
But it wasn’t always perfect. Susan knew the good in Downey Jr. just as well as she knew his demons. Levin witnessed Robert slipping into old habits once and decided she wasn’t going to let that happen again:
“I did meet Darth Vader, for like a minute, right after the movie wrapped, and I said immediately, ’This isn’t gonna work.’ I made it clear that to stay with me, nothing could happen.”
Luckily for RDJ, the choice was simple.
Robert knew that Susan could help him lead a better life.
Robert Downey Jr. only got sober because his girlfriend (now wife) gave him the ultimatum of getting sober or losing her. He realized that he needed to keep Susan in his life, no matter what it took. The Iron Man star once admitted that Susan had a hold on him like no other, it was like she was meant to come into his life and save him. Robert can’t stop adoring his wife:
“There’s something about her that is so pure and... right. But then there’s the other stuff too, the shadowy side of her that is delightful and that she only shows to me.”
He was willing to completely turn his life around for her, and she was right there to support him. It took the actor only 6 months of dating to propose to Susan. The couple got married in 2005 and that same year worked on Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. The producer thought it was best that she stay close to him while he was getting clean, so that he would always feel her support.
Levin said they fit like puzzle pieces and weren’t complete until they found each other:
“I think he saw what we had. There was something magical there, something we couldn’t put our finger on. He always says that we became this third thing when we got together — something that neither of us could have become by ourselves — and I think that’s true.”
Hard times were over, ahead — a return to glory and happiness.
Together they’re thriving and blissfully happy.
Many consider Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes, which came out in 2008 and 2009 respectively, to be the 2 roles that brought Robert Downey Jr. back into the spotlight. But not everyone knows that Susan Levin helped her husband land the role of the most famous detective in fiction. The film’s director, Guy Ritchie, revealed that:
“If Susan hadn’t been in the room, Robert probably wouldn’t have become Sherlock Holmes.”
As for their private life, it couldn’t be better either. For the first 7 years of their marriage, the lovebirds focused on getting RDJ’s life back on track and just enjoying being with each other. But at one point this wasn’t enough, and they started a family.
Robert and Susan welcomed their first son Exton Elias in 2012, and 2 years later the family was complete after the birth of their baby girl, Avri Roel.
Levin and Downey Jr. continue working together outside of Robert’s Marvel Cinematic Universe run. They’ve collaborated on movies like Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011), The Judge (2014), and Dolittle (2020). Things are looking pretty good for their dream team.
Today, Robert Downey Jr. is one of the most beloved actors in Hollywood and over 15 years sober. Susan Levin, without a doubt, earned her nickname as “The Miracle That Saved Robert Downey Jr.”