When Susan Downey first met Robert Downey Jr., she wasn’t attracted to him. “Not even a little bit,” she revealed in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar. As Susan remembers, she met the Ally Mcbeal star on the set of Gothika. “The main thing I remember about meeting him was thinking how strange he was,” she said of her initial encounters with RDJ.
Fast-forward to the present-day, and Sarah and Robert are one of Hollywood’s favorite power couple. What happened between now and their fateful first meeting? To find out, read on to hear the love story of the film producer and Oscar-winning actor.
Robert Downey Jr. Meets His Future Wife, Susan Levin.
So back to 2003. Susan was hired by Joel Silver to be vice president of production for his company, Silver Pictures, and it’s Dark Castle Entertainment division. Susan had been VP at Silver Pictures since 1999, working on films like Thir13en and Swordfish — but Gothika was her “first full-credit producing job” on the big screen. No way was she going to jeopardize this important career move by falling in love with a cast member. Besides, as we’ve said, she thought the Academy Award winner was weird.
“We were up in Montreal prepping for Gothika, and we had lunch with the director and Halle Berry,” Susan said in an interview with Hollywood Reporter, remembering the very first day they met. “Everybody else ordered Japanese, but Robert told us how oatmeal was the ‘superfood.’ He brought his own packets of oatmeal to have at lunch. And he had this box of various herbs and stuff. And then he started doing these yoga moves. I mean, he was interesting but weird.”
At the time of their meeting, the Chaplin star and movie producer were as different as two people can be. She was valedictorian of her high school class and summa cum laude at the University of Sothern California. Robert, on the other hand, was a high school dropout with a history of substance abuse, drug offenses, rehab stints, and scandal.
Robert and Susan Start Dating
By 2003, Robert was on the road to sobriety and doing a pretty good job of walking straight and narrow. So, despite her misgivings, Susan agreed to go on a date with him when he asked her out. “One day [after filming], when we were on the treadmills, Robert goes, ‘Levin, you wanna go to dinner?’” she told Harper’s Bazaar. “I said, ‘Eh, I’ll grab something to eat.’ So we agreed to go change and meet in the lobby and as he walked down the stairs toward me, I remember looking up at him and suddenly thinking, ‘He’s really cute.’”
After finishing the production of Gothika, Robert almost went back to his bad-boy ways. But Susan wouldn’t have it. “I said immediately, ‘This isn’t gonna work.’ I made it clear that to stay with me, nothing could happen,” Susan remembered. As it turns out, Susan’s ultimatum was the final push the Iron Man star needed to conquer addiction once and for all. In July 2003, he threw his drugs into the Pacific and promised never to dabble with substances again.
“Addiction was so foreign to me,” Susan would later admit to The Hollywood Reporter. “I was incredibly ignorant of the hold it had on people.” The Avengers star added, “Thank God for that — if she knew the depths of my depravity, we would not be sitting here.” Within three months of dating, the Golden Globe Award winner popped the question. At the time, he was still married to model-singer Deborah Falconer, with whom he shares a son named Indio.
Although she declined his initial offer, Susan eventually accepted his proposal of marriage. However, she demanded that they put off their wedding for two years to see if the Dolittle actor would keep his word and stay away from substances. He did — and the two were married in the Hamptons in 2005.
Robert and Susan are Still Going Strong!
Today, Robert and Susan are still going strong after more than 15 years of marriage. Sherlock Holmes director Guy Ritchie has called their marriage “perfectly symbiotic“. “The reason I call them perfectly symbiotic, it’s that they each represent the other side of each other’s coin,” the director said. “There’s no clashing over the same space, although they’re always looking in the same direction. It’s a very rare thing they have.”
The celebs have two kids: a son named Exton Elias and a daughter named Avri Roel. The lovebirds also run their own Warner Bros.-based production company: Team Downey.