Robert Downey Jr. is adamant his stint behind bars didn't help to sort his life out, insisting his prison time "neither fazed me, nor changed me, nor informed me". The "Iron Man" star was sent to jail in 1997 following several run-ins with the law over his drug addiction. He was later given a three-year stint in 1999 and was freed after 12 months when a judge granted him early release.
But the star is adamant his subsequent sobriety and career resurgence has nothing to do with being locked up - likening the experience to working on location or attending school. He tells Britain's GQ magazine, "I do think there's something divine about large-scale humiliation, but no, it never worked for me."
"It never produced enough of a blow back for me to catch the drift. It doesn't so much produce results as just get your attention - you become a fish in a barrel and there's really something quite beautiful about that. Jail didn't help me any more or less than anything else."
"But I know I created that experience for a reason, and I'm only just starting to understand those reasons. Remember this is California... 'Come on vacation, leave on probation.' I mean, I can't believe I stayed out of the pen for as long as I did. And I didn't mind it inside really; it wasn't so bad."
"Listen, a prison is just like a public school. Did you ever go on a film set on location? It's just like prison. Have you ever been in a bad relationship? It's just like having a celly (cellmate) who wants to kill you. Have you ever been in a street fight? It's just like chow-time (meal time). Have you ever been to a rave-up? It's like a yard riot. I wouldn't wish it on anybody, but it neither fazed me, nor changed me, nor informed me - but maybe it toughened me up a little bit."