‘Yellowstone’s Wes Bentley Says Robert Downey Jr. ‘Saved’ Him From Drug Addiction

by Taylor Cunningham
(Photo Credit: Yellowstone Gallery, Paramount Network Press Center, Viacom)

Yellowstone star Wes Bentley nearly lost himself to drug addiction in the early 2000s, but Robert Downey Jr. “saved” him. Downey Jr. went through a decades-long public battle with alcohol and drugs while working as an A-lister in Hollywood. And he finally got sober in 2003.

When the Iron Man actor was going through the process of getting clean, Bentley was at the height of his heroin abuse. Listening to Robert Downey Jr. speak out about his struggles inspired him to get his life together.

“I was in the deepest throes of my addiction and in the worst place and at death’s door, I guess, or at risk of it. And I saw him be so bold and brave and open and it saved me,” Bentley told Page Six on Nov. 5. “So I thought if I do that too, I can maybe pass that on to somebody else.”

Wes Bentley go into acting when he was a teenager. And it only took three projects before he found his big break in the Oscar-winning film, American Beauty in 1999.

At 21, the overwhelming fame hit him hard. To deal with the stress and pressure, he turned to substances.

“I never had money before,” he admitted. “So there was a lot of combination of things I wasn’t prepared for. I also knew as an actor that I wasn’t going to be really ready to do good roles until in my 30s and 40s. So I didn’t really want it to happen like that too early. I tried to go with it and hang with it, but I wasn’t ready.”

Wes Bentley and Robert Downey Jr. Are Both Open About Addiction Struggles

Between 2002 and 2009, Wes Bentley hit rock bottom, and he didn’t care about acting anymore. During a 2010 interview with the New York Times, he said that he had “stacks of scripts, great scripts with great offers attached.” But he had no motivation to work. He only accepted occasional jobs to pay for his bills and drugs.

In 2008, the actor pleaded guilty to a heroin possession charge. The court ordered him into counseling and a 12-step program, but he didn’t break the habit until he met a man who lived through the same battle.

Interestingly, the man didn’t know anything about Bentley’s past nor did he know he helped him. That experience coupled with Robert Downey Jr.’s openness was enough to convince Bentley to get and stay clean.

“I met a guy who had been sober and didn’t know that I was struggling,” Bentley continued. “He just talked about what a beautiful life he had now, and how he’s looking out the window at the trees, and I missed that. And I thought I want that back.”