Hollywood circles have talked about Jesse James for years. They have obsessed over him (in the harshest way) and vilified him, but through it all, Robert Downey Jr. did what he does best – be the mentor that everyone needs but nobody deserves. After the former husband of Sandra Bullock came under fire for wearing a World War II SS hat, the sensationalism of the event further riled up the public when he cheated on his then-wife, Bullock.
In a tell-all memoir released in 2017 and an interview that works to justify a lot of his wrongdoings, James attempts to give reason to the chaos caused in the aftermath of his divorce from the Ocean’s 8 actress.
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Robert Downey Jr.’s Advice to a Vilified Jesse James
Jesse James, the self-made king of the custom motorcycle business was only 6 months into his relationship with the Hollywood sweetheart, Sandra Bullock, when the two decided to tie the knot. It definitely did not fit in with the image and the dream that the industry sells and thrives on. As such, the marriage was, in a way, doomed to fail from the start.
But matters worsened when James cheated on his wife, an Oscar-winning actress who was an absolute inspiration to people and a walking goddess among mere mortals. The backlash that followed, combined with the pent-up irritation and resentment that the public has harbored for years toward the man who refers to himself as a “grease monkey” got blown up to extraordinary proportions.
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It was then that Robert Downey Jr. sent Jesse James a well-timed message that read: “This is the most glorious sh*tstorm ever! Don’t worry dude, you’re going to be just fine.” And James, who has suffered an abusive childhood, traumatizing parental relationships, a broken home, and a difficult life marred by spectacularly bad choices that took away his ability to trust anyone, somehow found himself trusting the words of RDJ at that particular moment.
Why RDJ Feels the Need to Save Every Broken Soul
At the 25th American Cinematheque Award, Robert Downey Jr. walked onto the stage, accepted the honor from Mel Gibson, and during the subsequent speech claimed:
“I asked Mel to present this award to me for a reason because when I couldn’t get sober, he told me not to give up hope, and he urged me to find my faith – didn’t have to be his or anyone else’s as long as it was rooted in forgiveness. And I couldn’t get hired, so he cast me in the lead of a movie that was actually developed for him, and he kept a roof over my head.
And most importantly, he said that if I accepted responsibility for my wrongdoings and if I embraced that part of my soul that was ugly – hugging the cactus, he calls it – he said that if I hug the cactus long enough, I’d become a man of some humility, and that my life would take on a new meaning. And it worked. All he asked in return was that someday I help the next guy.”
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The life that Robert Downey Jr. has built for himself from that one single act of kindness, the way he turned himself around from a densely checkered and volatile reputation to one of the most respected and venerated actors and philanthropists of our generation then made it his mission to mark every cactus he met on the way and teach them to hug themselves as well.
Whether it be good, bad, irredeemable, or morally reprehensible acts that one might commit, Robert Downey Jr. sees redemption as a possibility for every person (including Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp) that is willing to work for it.
Source: The Daily Beast