The 1990s were a tough and tumultuous time for Robert Downey Jr. The actor who is well-known for his MCU performances as Tony Stark has come a long way. In 1996, driving under the influence, he was caught having cocaine, heroin, and crack on him. Things only seemed to get worse with time.
Drunkenly passing out in a stranger’s home and skipping court mandated drug tests were just a few of the other instances that led to what would be the shock of a lifetime. After a slew of failed attempts to get his act together in rehabilitation centers, Robert Downey Jr. found himself facing a worst-case scenario: jail time. There were many things that led up to Robert Downey Jr. ‘s prison sentence, but, ultimately, it was the star’s inability to cooperate and abide by the court’s stipulations. On August 25, 1999, Robert Downey Jr. was officially sentenced to three years in prison, and despite how it sounded, it wasn’t all bad for the award-winning actor.
Robert Downey Jr. wore Armani and Calvin Klein while in prison
Fortunately, his fans and followers were able to keep close tabs on Robert Downey Jr. thanks to interviews like this one with Steve Garbarino. By quite literally going behind-the-scenes, Vanity Fair‘s feature was able to portray what life looked like for the Hollywood celebrity during this peculiar and challenging time.
Interestingly enough, in many ways, Robert Downey Jr. seemed to be thriving while imprisoned. His mother and sister remarked how present and thoughtful he had become and greatly enjoyed receiving the actor’s letters. Garbarino, the writer behind “The Star In Cell 17”, even commented that Robert Downey Jr. was getting involved in the prison’s festivities and actually was responsible for leading an inmate chorus that specialized in Christmas’ carols.
Though there were, of course, some downs that came with the ups, overall, Robert Downey Jr. seemed to be benefiting from his time in prison. Not to mention, he wasn’t letting it deter him from the upkeep of his personal appearance and aesthetic. While serving time in the California state prison Robert Downey Jr. was known for his lavish and high-end accessorizing skills. From Armani shirts to Calvin Klein boxers, Robert Downey Jr. definitely seemed to serve his time with style.
How long was Robert Downey Jr.’s jail sentence?
Despite Robert Downey Jr. ‘s pleas to Judge Mira, he was given a pretty hefty sentence. However, fortunately for the celebrity, he didn’t actually have to serve it all.
As the legal system goes, Downey Jr. off the bat was credited 201 days due to the time he already served while awaiting his sentence. Nonetheless, with well-over 1000 days in a three-year span, the actor was still looking at owing a pretty big chunk of time, or at least that would have been the case if he wasn’t released early on an appeal.
In August of 2000, just one year after Robert Downey Jr. received his three-year prison sentence, the celebrity was released. Los Angeles Times cited an error in sentencing Robert Downey Jr.’s case as the reason for his early liberation. Nonetheless, as many can imagine, it came as a huge relief to the talented actor.
What has he shared about his time in prison?
Downey Jr.’s time in prison wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine, but it definitely seemed like the unexpected detour provided the popular celebrity with a lot of peace and perspective.
While working on his Vanity Fair feature he would often write to Garbarino, and in one letter he explained, “For those of us who have considered physical ‘flexibilities’ to be of import, I bring news from the field. . . . It is my newfound experience that in order to get things done, I must be still. When that is afforded by an imposed restriction (illness, weather, incarceration, generally being grounded), I now believe it is God’s way of giving you some true freedom to ‘catch up’ on what you need to accomplish . . . inwardly.”
Though it was cut short, and it may not have been part of his plan, Robert Downey Jr.’s time in prison was one marked with both sophistication and style.
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