People certainly like to exchange gossip about celebrities and their children. But today when I heard that Robert Downey, Jr. and his wife Susan Downey were blessed with a healthy baby boy, Exton Elias Downey, I was nothing but happy. Downey already has an 18-year-old son Indio with former wife Deborah Falconer. That’s because, based on my entirely unscientific survey of celebrity journalism, I’m convinced that Robert Downey, Jr. will be a great father to Exton for the following reasons:
1) He’s a really, really cool guy. Unlike a lot of big-name male stars who are just a cog in an image factory, it’s obvious that Downey is warm and charismatic off-screen. It’s well-known that the best lines in his movies are often ad-libbed. He’d be a very fun dad. Plus what young boy wouldn’t want Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes for a father?
2) He’s learned from a lot of mistakes and can pass that wisdom on to his son. Robert Downey, Jr. might as well be a Hollywood unicorn—lots and lots of stars have major ego and substance abuse problems, but how many of them are dogged by those problems for years and emerge out the other side genuinely humble and reformed with a more successful career than ever? Suffice to say, if you’re a young kid with problems Downey’s probably a guy who knows a thing or two about imparting life-lessons and heading off trouble. And if Downey’s your dad, good luck hiding your bad behavior. He’s been there done that, so good luck getting one over on your old man.
3) Downey knows all about forgiveness. Downey’s been pretty open about how he benefited from tough love and his time in prison, which I think is an important thing for any parent to understand. However, he also knows the power of forgiveness, which is even more important for a parent to understand. Early and often. Everyone in Hollywood has been quick to pile-on Mel Gibson because of his substance abuse and his vile anti-semitic and misogynistic comments. Robert Downey, Jr., understanding what it’s like to battle the same intense personal demons haunting Gibson, courageously asked Gibson to be forgiven. The jury may still be out on whether Gibson is actually reformed, but it’s really hard not to be moved by this:
Seriously, I wish the Downeys all the best in the world with their new baby boy. In a world where the benchmark for celebrity childbearing success is just keeping your kids off reality television, they seem like they might just turn out to be good parents.