Gwyneth Paltrow ‘Immediately Took a Shine’ to Robert Downey Jr. When They First Met

Celebrity friendships may come and go but the one between Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey Jr. is going strong. The actors play love interests in the Marvel Cinematic Universe but off-camera they are close friends. Ahead, find out they first met. 

They play Tony Stark and Pepper Potts in the MCU 

Iron Man is the film that started it all for Marvel Studios and the MCU. Hitting theaters in 2008, Iron Man follows RDJ as he portrays billionaire and genius inventor Tony Stark. A playboy who accidentally becomes a superhero better known as Iron Man, Stark’s trusty personal assistant Pepper Potts (Paltrow) is by his side through it all. 

Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow at a photocall for 'Iron Man 3' in 2013
Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow at a photocall for Iron Man 3 | Dave M. Benett/Getty Images

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It’s clear from early on in the movie there’s chemistry between Stark and Potts and they soon develop a relationship outside of work. Throughout the MCU, the romance between the characters continues to grow. When Avengers: Endgame debuted in 2019, audiences learned Potts and Stark had become parents.

Today, although their time in the MCU seems to have ended, fans still love the on-screen couple. And what’s more than that, Paltrow and RDJ continue to be great friends in real life. 

Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow meet in the 1990s

As actors, Paltrow and RDJ have run in the same circles for years. They’ve known each other for decades and first met at a film festival in the 1990s. According to The Oregonian during a 2013 interview with the Associated Press, the duo recounted their first meeting.

Paltrow admitted at the time she’d been unsure about RDJ because of his reputation in Hollywood. The Iron Man actor remembered a mutual friend telling him Paltrow had called them up and asked about him. 

“She was like, ‘What is wrong with him? Who is this guy?’ She called him up asking, like, if it was going to be essentially bad for her reputation to be hanging out with me,” RDJ said. 

Paltrow denied it saying, “That is not true!”

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RDJ then clarified his previous comment: “What I mean was, I was wild.”

Despite being known as “wild,” Paltrow and RDJ got along from the start. 

“He was really wild, and I was very naive,” Paltrow said. “I immediately took a shine to him. … Then he went off the radar for a little while.”

Fast-forward to 2008 when the two are playing love interests in what would become one of the biggest movie franchises ever. More than a decade after Iron Man’s original debut, RDJ and Paltrow remain close. 

Gwyneth Paltrow considers Robert Downey Jr. her ‘brother, friend, and supporter’

RDJ and Paltrow aren’t shy about showing their love for each other on social media. They wish each other a happy birthday on Instagram and post the occasional selfie together.

On April 4, 2020, RDJ’s birthday, Paltrow took to Instagram to share a sweet photo of her and the Sherlock Holmes actor along with a sweet message. Next to a picture of RDJ giving a toast at Paltrow’s wedding to Brad Falchuk, the Oscar-winning actress gushed about her costar. 

“He is my brother, friend and supporter,” Paltrow wrote about RDJ. “A mega genius, and the weirdest comedy writer of all time.” 

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Over on RDJ’s Instagram, he’s posted pictures of him and Paltrow often with the hashtag “Pepperony.” And he’s credited her for majorly impacting the creation of the Iron Man character. Their bond is so strong RDJ will reportedly return to MCU and reprise his role only if Paltrow agrees to come back too.