Robert Downey Jr. was once Hollywood’s favorite bad boy, but nowadays the actor has cleaned up his act and taken the reins as one of Marvel’s biggest stars, playing Tony Stark, the man behind superhero Iron Man, which has gone on to be one of the most profitable film franchises in movie history, leaving many people to wonder if Robert Downey Jr. is a billionaire.
Robert Downey Jr. is not a billionaire. Despite Avengers: Endgame becoming the highest-grossing film of all time, Downey Jr.’s personal wealth is estimated to be around $300 million, which is an impressive feat given that most of his fortune was earned in the past decade.
Read more below about Robert Downey Jr.’s tumultuous early days of fame, how he turned his career around, and how he spends his vast fortune.
A Meteoric Rise and a Swift Downward Spiral
Downey Jr. made his first appearance on film in his father’s movie, Pound, when he was five. By the time he turned 20, he was working consistently alongside members of the famed “Brat Pack” in movies such as Weird Science and The Pick-Up Artist.
In 1987, Downey Jr. starred in Less Than Zero, playing a drug addict on a downward spiral. Much like his character, Julian, Downey Jr.’s drug addiction worsened during the filming of the movie, with the actor telling The Guardian, “Until that movie, I took my drugs after work and on the weekends. Maybe I’d turn up hungover on the set, but no more so than the stuntman. That changed on Less Than Zero … For me, the role was like the ghost of Christmas Future. The character was an exaggeration of myself. Then things changed and, in some ways, I became an exaggeration of the character. That lasted far longer than it needed to last.”
Despite his personal demons, Downey Jr.’s career was still on the rise, and the actor received his first Academy Award nomination for starring as Hollywood icon Charlie Chaplin in Chaplin in 1993. He had also started a family with now ex-wife, Deborah Falconer, and the two welcomed a son the same year he got an Oscar nod.
Rehab, Incarceration and Revival
Unfortunately for Downey Jr., despite his incredible talent, his addiction began to impact his ability to work. He faced numerous arrests and trips to rehab, and at one point, no studio in Hollywood would bond him (actors require liability insurance to work on a film and Downey Jr. was deemed uninsurable).
In 1999, the actor was sentenced to three years in prison for violating his parole. Despite the severity of the situation, going to jail helped the actor get clean, and he has remained sober since his release from jail.
Iron Man’s Mega Riches
Downey Jr.’s Hollywood comeback was slow-moving after his jail stint, but he began lining up parts and in a career-altering move, director Jon Favreau cast Downey Jr. as Marvel Universe superhero Iron Man. 2008’s Iron Man was a critical and commercial success, and relaunched Downey Jr’s career to new heights.
Over the next 11 years, Robert Downey Jr. would play Tony Stark’s Iron Man in 11 Marvel Comic Universe films, including Avengers: Endgame, which would go on to be the highest-grossing film of all time. Though his salary was just $500,000 for Iron Man, by the time Avengers: Endgame went into production, his salary was $75 million, including a back end deal.
Given his immense wealth due to his career-defining role, Robert Downey Jr. knows how to enjoy his money, including an impressive real estate portfolio, expensive watches, pricey cars, high-end events, and even movie props, including buying his own Iron Man suit. Speaking of his legacy as Iron Man, Downey Jr. said, “I had an incredible ten-year run that was creatively satisfying. It was very, very, very hard work and I dug very deep, but I have not been forced to explore the new frontier of what is my creative and personal life after this.”
You can watch how Robert Downey Jr. spends some of his $300 million fortune in the YouTube video below.
Though Robert Downey Jr. was once a cautionary tale, he turned his life around to become one of the biggest movie stars of all time. Though he’s not a billionaire, he’s amassed a fortune, and should he ever return to the Marvel Universe, it’s quite possible he’ll one day reach billionaire status.