Photo: Courtesy of Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr.'s mother, Elsie Ann Ford, passed away last week at age 80. The actor took to Facebook to honor her with a heartfelt obituary. Downey's struggles with substance abuse are well documented, and he credits his mother's own battle with alcoholism with helping him get sober.
Downey explains that while living the artist's lifestyle with her husband, filmmaker Robert Downey Sr., "the downside of drug culture" caught up with her. "She was an alcoholic," he wrote.
Downey describes how the addiction took hold of his mother, and how it affected his life growing up as well. "I remember living with her and her boyfriend Jonas, (who became a second father to me) in a 2 room 5 story walk up in Manhattan," he wrote. "Bunsen burner for a stove, cockroaches, broken dreams..."
But, his mother eventually decided to get sober — a decision Downey himself would have to make years later.
It was 2004, and Downey was in the midst battling a highly publicized cocaine addiction that threatened to derail his career. "I was in bad shape," he wrote. "She called me out of the blue, and I admitted everything. I don't remember what she said, but I haven't drank or used since."
Downey's career has since flourished thanks to his newfound sobriety (and a little movie called Iron Man). "She was my role model as an actor, and as a woman who got sober and stayed that way," he wrote.
Photo: REX USA/Everett Collection.