Why Sarah Jessica Parker Says Her Relationship With Robert Downey Jr. Was ‘Genuinely Scary’

Sarah Jessica Parker and Robert Downey Jr. were madly in love at one point. The good-humored couple dated for eight years, beginning in 1984. And shortly after meeting at the tender age of eighteen, the couple decided to live together. Despite their long-lived relationship, which Parker claims taught her “how to love,” the Sex and The City actor admits it wasn’t always rainbows and butterflies for the two. She even confesses that at times, her relationship with Downey was ‘genuinely scary.’ Keep reading to find out why.

Robert Downey Jr. Sarah Jessica Parker
Robert Downey Jr. and Sarah Jessica Parker | The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Sarah Jessica Parker says dating Robert Downey Jr. was ‘really adventurous and important’

Parker and Downey met while filming First Born in 1984. Not months after meeting, the pair moved in together in a Hollywood mansion. Yet as posh and elegant as their home was, Parker and Downey were still practically kids at this point.

Sarah Jessica Parker and Robert Downey Jr.
Sarah Jessica Parker and Robert Downey Jr. attend the ABC Television Affiliates Party on June 14, 1990 | Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images

Because of their youth and comedic personalities, they had a whole lot of fun messing with their celebrity neighbors at the time. According to the actors, they used to start water balloon fights. In these fights, they’d chuck water balloons at their fellow-celebrity neighbors. This was usually met back with their pals dousing the two of them with a garden hose.

“You have to run to each window and hope you get there in time to close it. It’s very immature, I know, but fun,” Parker tells PEOPLE. And according to InStyle, the Sex and The City actor has described her relationship with Downey as a “really adventurous and important eight years of my life.”    

Sarah Jessica Parker admits her relationship with Robert Downey Jr. could get ‘genuinely scary’

Unfortunately for Parker, her relationship with Downey got “genuinely scary.” This is because Parker was living in constant fear that her boyfriend would die. Downey was addicted to drugs and alcohol, which took over his life as well as his relationship with Parker. Luckily, he has been sober for years now to which Parker is grateful for.

In an interview with Parade via InStyle, Downey admits his “drug problem” killed his relationship with Parker. According to the Iron Man actor, love was not enough to keep their relationship afloat.

Sarah Jessica Parker and Robert Downey Jr.
Sarah Jessica Parker and Robert Downey Jr. | Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

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“I liked to drink, and I had a drug problem, and that didn’t jibe with Sarah Jessica,” says Downey, according to InStyle, “because it is the furthest thing from what she is. She provided me a home and understanding,” says the actor. “Sarah tried to help me. She was so miffed when I didn’t get my act together. I was in love with Sarah Jessica. And love clearly was not enough.” 

And during Parker’s appearance on the WTF podcast, she says her relationship with Downey could get “genuinely scary” because of his addictions. “I felt like I had entered an alternate universe of really scary associations and a habit that had become genuinely scary.”

Sarah Jessica Parker stayed in her relationship with Robert Downey Jr. out of fear that he would die

Sarah Jessica Parker and Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. and Sarah Jessica Parker | Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Sadly, despite how devastating their situation was, Parker claims she stayed in her relationship with Downey because she was terrified that if she left him, he would die. She explains on the WTF podcast in 2016, 

I’d never seen drugs, done drugs, or been around drugs. I think I was naive. I wasn’t innocent, but I was naive. And I didn’t recognize things that maybe someone who dabbled in that world would know. But I also felt like ‘I can deal with that, I can help.’ And we weathered a huge amount of that. But eventually, I guess I just summoned the courage to leave him. The biggest, hardest choices about those kinds of relationships are feeling brave enough to leave, even if you think they’re going to die. Because you stay, not because you’re in love anymore- You love this person, and you’re afraid they’re going to die if you aren’t there to shore up their base every single solitary day. I just didn’t want him to die.”