Today, Robert Downey Jr. is the sixth highest-grossing box office star of all time, with films he has starred in grossing over $14.4 billion. Downey’s career, however, was troubled from 1996 until 2001, where he was arrested on multiple occasions for drug-related offenses, and served a six-month stint in jail in 1997, followed by a year in state prison in 1999. Downey has spoken of how being locked in his cell brought a sense of security with it, saying as soon as his cell door shut, he was safe from the temptation to take more drugs. While acknowledging there were opportunities to obtain drugs in prison, he knew the consequences would be too great, saying “If you follow those impulses, you are going to be indebted to someone who is too much of a public-safety threat to even just be in jail.”
Downey’s career rebounded in 2003, where he began to star in numerous supporting roles and semi-independent films, before skyrocketing with his appearances in the 2008 blockbuster films 'Tropic Thunder, and 'Iron Man', the latter of which led to his portraying the title character in another 12 films.