New Zealand markets closed
  • NZX 50

    -26.09 (-0.22%)

    +0.0021 (+0.35%)

    +0.0000 (+0.01%)

    -83.90 (-1.04%)
  • ASX 200

    -84.20 (-1.08%)
  • OIL

    +0.93 (+1.21%)
  • GOLD

    -2.00 (-0.09%)

    +184.96 (+0.99%)
  • FTSE

    -21.64 (-0.26%)
  • Dow Jones

    +4.33 (+0.01%)
  • DAX

    +2.05 (+0.01%)
  • Hang Seng

    -259.77 (-1.38%)
  • NIKKEI 225

    -457.11 (-1.17%)

    +0.3840 (+0.40%)

Jeremy Renner Recalls 'Great Chats' with Robert Downey Jr. When He Was in ICU: ‘Like We Were Dating’ (Exclusive)

"His ways are heartwarming," Renner, who was hospitalized last year following a snowplow accident, says of Downey

<p>Kayla Oaddams/FilmMagic; Todd Williamson/NBC via Getty</p> Robert Downey Jr. and Jeremy Renner

Kayla Oaddams/FilmMagic; Todd Williamson/NBC via Getty

Robert Downey Jr. and Jeremy Renner

Most moviegoers know Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Sherlock Holmes, and, as of Sunday, an Oscar winner.

But behind the scenes and without any fanfare, the Oppenheimer actor, 58, has built a reputation as someone who’s always coming to the aid of others. “He really does believe in giving back, and he does it through his actions,” his wife and producing partner, Susan, 50, says in the new issue of PEOPLE.

Downey himself refers to it as “quiet service,” but he’s not one to boast about how he helps others.


“It’s just an appreciation for all he’s gone through, for all the people who stuck around through some of his more difficult times,” continues Susan, referring to his stretch of professional and legal troubles in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Related: Robert Downey Jr. Jokes 'It Only Took 50 Years' for Him to Be on Cover of PEOPLE: 'I've Finally Arrived'

Whether it’s mentoring younger actors — like John Boyega, who sought Downey’s advice on navigating Hollywood before he broke out in Star Wars: The Force Awakens — or offering moral support to friends going through a hard time, Downey shows up for those who need it.

<p>Kevin Winter/Getty</p> Robert Downey Jr. and Jeremy Renner in 2014

Kevin Winter/Getty

Robert Downey Jr. and Jeremy Renner in 2014

When fellow Avenger Jeremy Renner was in the ICU last January following his horrific snowplow accident, Downey checked in on him constantly.

“We ended up having really great chats on FaceTime, like we were dating or something,” recalls Renner, 53, who was nearly crushed to death outside his home in Nevada on Jan. 1, 2023.

As Renner tells PEOPLE, he was suffering from “other-worldly pain,” and Downey was there to take his mind off things by cracking wise.

“He's like, ‘Dude, the most important thing is you look good. I don't care how you feel, as long as you look good that's all that matters,’” recalls Renner.

<p>©A.M.P.A.S./Matt Sayles/courtesy of the Academy</p> Robert Downey Jr. on the cover of PEOPLE's Oscars issue

©A.M.P.A.S./Matt Sayles/courtesy of the Academy

Robert Downey Jr. on the cover of PEOPLE's Oscars issue

Downey and Susan are both fans of Mayor of Kingstown, Renner’s Paramount+ series, and so the star ribbed his friend about getting out of the hospital and getting back to set.

“He’s like, ‘You’ve got to get back to do Mayor, because we need to see what happens,’ ” Renner says, laughing at the memory. “His ways are very heartwarming.”

Related: Robert Downey Jr.'s Wife Susan Shares the '2-Week Rule' That Keeps Their 18-Year Marriage Strong (Exclusive)

Jon Favreau, who directed Downey in 2008's Iron Man and its sequel, agrees. “He's somebody who, even when he's not working, he's still connecting,” says Favreau. “He really keeps relationships going, and he's always checking in and always keeps those channels of communication and those relationships open.”

<p>Jason Merritt/Getty</p> Robert Downey Jr. and Jeremy Renner in 2013

Jason Merritt/Getty

Robert Downey Jr. and Jeremy Renner in 2013

“You're part of a community,” continues Favreau. “I've learned a lot about that from him, about how he connects with others who he has worked with and people that he's going to work with, and people whose work he likes that he hasn't worked with.”

“He's definitely an ambassador among people in our field,” says Favreau. “And I think he's appreciated for it. People really look to him.”

For more on Robert Downey, Jr., pick up the new issue of PEOPLE.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.