Robert Downey Jr. got personal in front of thousands at Monday’s Avengers: Infinity War world premiere.
Addressing the audience at the screening at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles (the same venue that hosts the Academy Awards), the Iron Man star, 53, referenced his battle with addiction in a sprawling and emotional speech.
“I want to talk about the past, present, and future,” Downey said onstage, alongside his Avengers costars, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Chadwick Boseman. “The past for me was 30 years of dependency, depravity, and despair… otherwise known as ‘An Actor Prepares!'”
“The present is this moment of glory for all of us. And the future…? That is always uncertain,” he said following a round of cheers. “But looking at these friends behind me — it seems like things might brighten up after all.”
Downey also paid tribute Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, who’s behind the company’s 19 interlocking blockbusters.
“This is a miracle,” he said of Marvel Studios’ achievement. “And if any one of us took credit it would be heresy. It would be blasphemy.”
Long before Iron Man came out in 2008, the Oscar nominated actor made headlines in the late 1990s and early 2000s for being arrested and jailed multiple times over drug-related charges. He has spoken openly about struggling with addiction before he got sober in 2002.
In 1996, he was famously stopped by police after driving naked down Sunset Boulevard, and was found in possession of cocaine, heroin and a gun. Later in 2000, Downey was again arrested and charged with a felony drug possession.
During a court appearance in 1999, the actor described his addiction as “like I’ve got a shotgun in my mouth, with my finger on the trigger, and I like the taste of the gun metal.”
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Now, Downey is one of the world’s wealthiest actors. In 2015, he topped Forbes‘ highest-paid actor list, with earnings that year over $80 million, according to the outlet.
During an appearance on Monday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live with some of his film’s costars, host Jimmy Kimmel joked, “What was it, 10 years ago that you did the first Iron Man movie? We didn’t know how that was going to go. That could have been a disaster. It could have ruined your acting career!”
“The only way was up back then!,” Downey responded, laughing.
Avengers: Infinity War opens Friday.