Robert Downey, Jr. and Sarah Jessica Parker have both been in Hollywood since they were teenagers, and they spent some of their early years in the spotlight together as an iconic celebrity couple. Today, RDJ is best known for his role as Iron Man, leader of the Avengers within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. SJP remains famous for her role as Carrie Bradshaw on the HBO series Sex and the City, a role she will reprise in the 2021 series revival.
In 1984, the already seasoned young actors met while filming the movie Firstborn. They quickly fell in love and moved in together, despite the fact that they were both just eighteen years old. In a vintage 1985 interview from People magazine, everything was rosy. The reporter spoke to the young celebs at home in their “rambling two-story Hollywood carriage house” decorated with “elegant art-deco furniture.” Parker sported a “narrow diamond band from Downey on her ring finger” which she referred to as a “hanging-out-together ring” and Downey gushed “I’m really happy with Sarah, and I don’t want to ruin it by planning too far ahead. But the way I feel now, marriage looks like where we’re headed.”
Per Showbiz Cheat Sheet, the romance lasted for seven years, producing lots of adorable pics taken everywhere from the red carpet at the Academy Awards to the ’80s streets of Los Angeles. Why did they break up and what do they think of one another today?
Robert Downey, Jr.’s Wild Hollywood Life
Actor Robert Downey, Jr. was born into Hollywood royalty. His father, Robert Downey, Sr., directed critically acclaimed avant-garde movies like Putney Swope and Greaser’s Palace. In fact, according to the IMDB, Downey, Jr. made his debut in one of his father’s movies, Pound, at the age of five, credited as “Bob Downey.” Firstborn was his fifth movie, but he soon made a name for himself in such 1980s teen favorites as Tuff Turf and, of course, Weird Science in which his turn as a nerd who creates a beautiful woman, Frankenstein-style, made him a star.
After a short stint on Saturday Night Live, Downey continued making movies. He played a troubled drug addict in 1987’s Less Than Zero, which many later saw as an example of the actor actually playing himself. The future Iron Man became notorious for his drug- and alcohol-fueled bad behavior.
He carried on as a successful actor, earning his first Oscar nomination in 1992 for his role as Charlie Chaplin in the biopic Chaplin. His substance abuse problems escalated, though, and he spent years getting arrested and doing multiple stints in rehab. One of the losses during his years under the influence was his relationship with Sarah Jessica Parker,
Sarah Jessica Parker: Young Star of Stage and Screen
Sarah Jessica Parker started out as a dancer, joining the Cincinnati Ballet Company at the age of nine. She began acting on Broadway at eleven and had the starring title role in the musical Annie by the time she was thirteen. Per the IMDB, she starred in the television series Square Pegs from 1982 to 1983 before moving on to the big screen, including roles in Footloose, Firstborn, and the lead in 1985’s Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, in which her then-boyfriend Robert Downey, Jr. was her co-star in an uncredited role as “Punk Party Crasher.”
She continued appearing on television and in movies throughout the 1980s and ‘90s, usually playing funny parts in an assortment of films, including Honeymoon In Vegas, Hokus Pokus, and Ed Wood right up until SATC premiered in on HBO in 1998 and made Sarah Jessica Parker, Carrie Bradshaw, and cosmopolitans household words. In the midst of her career, she broke off her relationship with Robert Downey Jr. in 1991.
Downey and Parker Lost Each Other But Found Themselves
Showbiz Cheat Sheet reports that Parker unsuccessfully attempted to get Downey into recovery from his addictions throughout their relationship. In a 2008 interview with Parade magazine, reported by People, Downey admitted “I liked to drink, and I had a drug problem, and that didn’t jibe with Sarah Jessica, because it is the furthest thing from what she is.” Parker told People in 2020 that her relationship with Downey “taught me how I love…And what’s the difference between loving and taking care of people and what’s necessary, and what grown-ups should and shouldn’t do for one another.”
The two went on to find love again with new partners. Parker married fellow lifelong actor Matthew Broderick in 1997 and they have three children together, James, Marion, and Tabitha. Downey married his second wife, producer Susan Levin, in 2005, “whom he credits with changing his attitude about life,” according to People. They have two children together, Exton and Avri, in addition to Downey’s son Indio from his first marriage to actress and singer Deborah Falconer.
The Iron Man and the Sex and the City star reunited in 2015, as reported by Us Weekly, meeting up at Parker’s home in New York City before going out to dinner at a tapas restaurant. In an interview with radio host Howard Stern, Downey shared that the former loves “were able to spend some time together and it was really cool,” and gushed “Seeing her, I was like, ‘She’s so great and so cool and so funny and so in-command.’”
In a later interview with Us Weekly, Parker called their reunion “surprisingly not weird” and went on to explain: “We were 18 when we met and fundamentally we are sort of the same. I think the difference is he has a family and a wife and obviously his career is a massive thing, but I think his true nature — it was completely familiar.”