Robert Downey Jr.’s Friends Fear He’ll Relapse Over ‘Dolittle’ Bombing?

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Robert Downey Jr attends the "Dolittle" special screening at Cineworld Leicester Square

By Andrew Shuster |

Robert Downey Jr attends the "Dolittle" special screening at Cineworld Leicester Square

(Getty Images)

Robert Downey Jr.’s friends aren’t worried about him relapsing on drugs and alcohol because Dolittle bombed at the box office, despite a ridiculous tabloid report. Gossip Cop can correct the bogus story. There’s no validity to it.

The Iron Man star got sober in 2003 following years of substance abuse issues which led to numerous arrests and negatively impacted his career. Over the years, Downey Jr. has been very open about his past struggles and eventual recovery from addiction. The National Enquirer, however, claims it’s all going to come crashing down over one movie being received poorly.

Dolittle, Downey Jr.’s first project after leaving the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has been panned by critics and is expected to lose as much as $100 million. “He’s telling people he’s concerned the disaster will cripple his career forever,” an alleged source tells the outlet. “People are worried the pressure and fallout from this will push him back to his self-destructive ways.”

An “addiction expert” who’s never treated or met the actor is then quoted as saying, “It hinges on whether he has people around him who support him and can help him process these negative feelings without falling back on his addictions. On his own it will be tough.” This is a blanket statement for anyone with addiction issues and doesn’t specifically apply to Downey Jr. or the box office performance of Dolittle.

In reality, Downey Jr. is as committed to his sobriety as just about anything else in his life. In an interview with Vanity Fair, the actor said, “Job one is get out of that cave. A lot of people do get out but don’t change. 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.” In other words, Downey Jr. didn’t merely get clean back in 2003, he also worked on the root of his addiction issues and changed his life for the better. Personal and professional setbacks are a part of life. The idea that the actor is going to relapse after 17 years because one of his movies flopped is just silly. Gossip Cop checked in with a source close to the actor, who confirms the tabloid’s report is baseless.

It’s also worth noting, Downey Jr. has been sharing Instagram photos from the international press tour for Dolittle. Although the movie flopped in the United States, he’s still happily selling the film overseas. If Downey Jr. were so distraught over the movie’s stateside reception, it’s unlikely he’d go out of his way to keep sharing behind the scenes images from the international press tour.

Oddly enough, this isn’t the first time we’ve had to call out a tabloid for alleging the actor’s new movie was affecting his personal life. Earlier this month, Gossip Cop busted the Enquirer’s sister outlet, OK!, for falsely claiming Downey Jr. and his wife Susan were having marriage problems over Dolittle. No movie star has a perfect record at the box office. Downey Jr. remains one of the most popular actors in Hollywood, and with a third Sherlock Holmes movie on deck, we imagine he’ll be just fine.


"Robert Downey Jr. Speaks About His Addictions." Vanity Fair, Oct. 2014.

Robert Downey Jr. on Instagram: "Up on the #catwalk, a big wheel is spinning..." 29 Jan. 2020.

Shuster, Andrew. "Robert Downey Jr. And Wife Susan Having Marriage Problems Over ‘Dolittle’ Movie?" Gossip Cop, 1 Jan. 2020.