Robert Downey Jr. has admitted that his year in prison was "the worst thing" to ever happen to him.
The "Iron Man" star received a three-year sentence at California's Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison in 1999 after refusing to submit to drug tests stemming from a 1996 cocaine possession charge. He served a year and got an early release in 2000 after posting bail.
During an appearance on Monday's episode of the "Armchair Expert" podcast with Dax Shepard and Monica Padman, Downey, 58, opened up about his experience of being sentenced and serving time.
"I'm gonna try to give you the flashcards: I'm in court, I'm being over-sentenced by an angry judge, and at some point he said something in Latin," he said.
"And I thought he was casting a spell on me," Downey continued.
The actor recalled being transferred to a "receiving center" while awaiting prison, saying that it was "arguably the most dangerous place" he'd ever been. This was because prisoners at different risk levels were all kept together.
"You could just feel the evil in the air, and that was no trouble at all because it was kind of like just being in a really bad neighborhood," he continued. "There was no opportunity there. There was only threats."
After being moved to a drug rehabilitation center, Downey admitted that it took him around two weeks to grasp and comprehend his situation.
"We are programmed to, within a short amount of time, be able to adjust to things that are seemingly impossible," he explained.
"And for me, there's worse things that could have happened than being sent to an institution, by far," Downey added. "However, we can only go by what we know, and I would imagine if I had to guess, that was the worst thing that happened to me."
Downey went to a rehabilitation facility following his 2000 release but a year later was arrested again on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs. He was sentenced to three years of probation and one year in a drug rehabilitation program.
Downey has been sober since 2003, after his wife, Susan Wodney, gave him an ultimatum.
"I think he saw what we had," Wodney, 49, told Vanity Fair in 2009. "There was something magical there, something we couldn't put our finger on.
"He always says that we became this third thing when we got together — something that neither of us could have become by ourselves — and I think that's true."
Zoe Papadakis is a Newsmax writer based in South Africa with two decades of experience specializing in media and entertainment. She has been in the news industry as a reporter, writer and editor for newspapers, magazine and websites.
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