Ever since he helped launch the Marvel Cinematic Universe with 2008’s Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr. has been one of the most beloved and well-known celebrities in the world. People often say that “behind every great man is a great woman,” and Robert is always the first to admit that’s the case for him and that he wouldn’t be the actor or role model he is today without help from his wife Susan.

Just as Pepper Potts helped Tony Stark shape into one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Susan Downey made sure Robert persevered and finally met his true potential when his life was in a very public downward spiral. She was instrumental in helping RDJ land several of the roles he’s become known for in recent decades, and has proven to be the perfect partner for him in both his professional and personal lives.

Susan is every bit as interesting and worthy of praise as her husband, and there are several facts about her life which may surprise even Robert Downey Jr.’s biggest fans.

20Susan Is Exceptionally Intelligent

Susan is basically the Tony Stark of the Downey family, and has the report cards to prove it. She graduated from Schaumburg High School in 1991 as class valedictorian, and studied at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts to get a degree in film production. She graduated from college summa cum laude, an achievement which requires a GPA of 3.9 or higher.

19She Played An Important Role In The Live-Action Mortal Combat Franchise

Everyone knows that Robert Downey Jr. played a huge role in launching the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but few fans are aware of the fact that his wife was also instrumental in the development of a popular action-packed franchise. Susan oversaw the development and production of the feature films Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, as well as the 22-episode TV series Mortal Kombat: Conquest.

18She Met And Fell For Robert During Production Of “Gothika”

Susan first met Robert Downey Jr. during her first full-credit producer job for the 2003 thriller Gothika. Robert and Halle Berry were the stars of the film, and Susan told Inside the Actors Studio that Downey was “an amazing actor that we were lucky to have in our movie.”

Robert has stated that his most memorable recollection about shooting Gothika was “romancing the producer,” and despite Susan’s initial restraint, it wasn’t long before the two entered into a relationship.

17Susan Had Some Serious Doubts About RDJ At First

Susan’s first impression of Robert was that he was “weird,” and she turned down his romantic advances twice because she didn’t think that their relationship would even last through the completion of shooting Gothika. 

She explained on The Oprah Winfrey Show that one of her biggest concerns revolved around the fact that “he’s an actor; I have a real job.” Susan also struggled to sympathize with Robert’s addiction struggles, and gave Robert an immediate ultimatum that he had to stop partying if he wanted to be with her.

16Robert Proposed To Her While He Was Still Married

While it took some time for Susan to fully embrace her relationship with Robert, he seemingly fell hard for her right from the start and in no time, started proposing marriage. The first time he presented Susan with the idea of them spending the rest of their lives together, his divorce hadn’t yet finalized and he was actually still married to Deborah Falconer.

15Her Wedding Included Serenades By Sting And Billy Joel

Six months into their relationship, Susan accepted the African sapphire-and-diamond engagement ring that Robert gave her. She insisted on a two-year-long engagement to see if Robert would stay true to his promise to give up drugs entirely, and they finally got married in a large and glamorous Hamptons wedding in 2005.

During the wedding, the couple enjoyed serenades by Sting and Billy Joel, and were surrounded by a legion of their famous friends.

14She’s The Reason Robert Was Able To Get His Life Back On Track

Robert’s substance abuse problems threatened to completely destroy his acting career, but Susan’s refusal to accept addiction as an excuse for poor behavior forced RDJ to make some drastic changes to his lifestyle.

Addiction was so foreign to me,” she explained to The Hollywood Reporter. “I was incredibly ignorant of the hold it had on people.”

“Thank God for that,” added Robert. “If she knew the depths of my depravity, we would not be sitting here.”

13Susan Helped Robert Become Sherlock Holmes

When Susan was in London producing RocknRolla, she met up with director Guy Ritchie. Ritchie had just been hired by Warner Bros. to shoot his first big-budget action movie, Sherlock Holmes, which Susan would co-produce. Ritchie told The Hollywood Reporter that she was instrumental in convincing him to cast Robert as the titular role.


“If Susan hadn’t been in the room, Robert probably wouldn’t have become Sherlock Holmes. She facilitated it, definitely.”

12She Sacrificed Her Career To Work Closer With Her Husband

Susan worked extremely hard over the years to climb up the corporate ladder, and eventually found herself holding the dual posts of Co-President of Dark Castle Entertainment and Executive Vice President of Production at Silver Pictures.

She oversaw the development and production of feature films released under both banners, such as Thir13en Ghosts and Swordfish. Susan was seemingly living her dream career, but she gave it up so she could spend more time and work closer with Robert.

11She Didn’t Think Her Husband Was Deserving Of His “Best Actor” Award

Sherlock Holmes was Robert and Susan’s most financially successful joint venture to date, but when the film earned Robert a Golden Globe Award nomination for “Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy,” Susan told him not to get his hopes up.


He ended up winning the award, and in his acceptance speech, he joked, “first of all, I would like to thank Susan Downey for telling me that Matt Damon was going to win, ‘so don’t bother to prepare a speech.'”

10Susan And Robert Formed Their Own Production Company

Susan left her positions at Dark Castle Entertainment and Silver Pictures so she could spend more time with her husband, and in 2010, the copule announced the formation of their Warner Bros.-based production company Team Downey.

“Our feeling was, if we wanted to spend time together, have a life together, then we should just go ahead and make movies together,” she told The Hollywood Reporter.

Within Team Downey, Robert likes to be involved with the more creative side of things, while Susan is in charge of putting a production together.

9Her Name Is Permanently Etched Onto Tony Stark’s Arm

The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s costume and makeup experts worked hard to make sure fans never saw it, but Tony Stark actually has a tattoo on his bicep. Robert Downey Jr. got a tattoo which reads “Suzie Q” on his arm as a tribute to his wife, but he has to keep it covered for most of his film roles.


8Guy Ritchie Says She And Robert Have A Symbiotic Relationship

Guy Ritchie got to know Susan and Robert very well during their time working on Sherlock Holmes together, and he’s had the chance to see firsthand just how perfectly the couple complements each other.

“Maybe it’s because they started their relationship working on a movie together, so it’s natural to them. But the reason I call them perfectly symbiotic, it’s that they each represent the other side of each other’s coin,” Ritchie explained to The Hollywood Reporter. “There’s no clashing over the same space, although they’re always looking in the same direction. It’s a very rare thing they have.”

7She’s Worth An Impressive $20 Million All On Her Own

Robert Downey Jr.’s phenomenal and iconic portrayals of both Tony Stark and Sherlock Holmes helped him earn an estimated net worth of over $300 million, but he’s not the Downey family’s only provider. Susan’s work as a producer has helped her achieve a net worth of approximately $20 million, so she’d still be successful without help from her rich and famous husband.

6Susan Lives In A $10.5 Million Home

In 2017, Susan and Robert purchased The Edward DeRose Windmill Cottage in New York for a whopping $10.5 million. The 8,500 square foot cottage has 7 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms, and a windmill structure which contains an office and library. The property includes 4 acres for the pool, tennis court and gardens.

5She Gave Her Children Incredibly Unique Names

In February 2012, Susan gave birth to her child to Robert Downey Jr, a son whom the couple named Exton Elias Downey. Two years later, Robert announced on social media that he and his wife were expecting a daughter that winter, and when she was born in November, they named her Avri Roel Downey.

4She’s RDJ’s Producer Of Choice

The main goal of Team Downey was to keep all of Robert’s future projects in the family, so Robert and Susan wouldn’t have to spend extended periods of time apart. Robert immediately embraced this idea, because Susan is genuinely his favorite producer.

“Before I met Susan, I didn’t even know what producers did, except yell at you when you did something they didn’t like. Now that I understand what they do, she’s the only one I want.”

3Susan Didn’t Really Care About Her Personal Life Until Robert Came Along

Susan knew that she wanted to work in the movie business ever since she was 12 years old, and she was always singularly focused on achieving that goal. She didn’t spend much time thinking of her future outside of work, until Robert came until her life.

“I was never a girl who thought about getting married. Being in a relationship wasn’t my priority,” she told Harper’s Bazaar. “For whatever reason, when we came together, there was a sense of hope and excitement and possibility.”

2She’s Basically A Human GPS

According to Robert, one of Susan’s many surprise skills is that she’s a walking GPS and can figure out how to get places without help.

“She’s still the person who always knows the most direct route from A to B,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “If you’re trying to get through traffic from Malibu to Burbank, or wherever, she’ll beat nav every time. She must have the most branched neural pathway system in history.”

1She’s Totally Cool With Robert’s Onscreen Romance With Gwyneth Paltrow

It has to be awkward watching your husband kiss another woman on the big screen, but Susan never had any problem with Robert’s romantic scenes opposite Gwyneth Paltrow in the MCU.

“Oddly, there’s nothing strange about it,” Susan told Harper’s Bazaar. “Gwyneth’s so funny because they have great on-screen chemistry, but afterward, she’d be like, ‘Ugh, it’s like kissing my brother.'”