Robert Downey Jr.: Sarah Jessica Parker Tried to Help Me

04/16/2008 at 12:55 PM EDT

Robert Downey Jr.: Sarah Jessica Parker Tried to Help Me
Robert Downey Jr. says his drug abuse and drinking led to his breakup with Sarah Jessica Parker after a seven-year relationship – even as she tried to help him cope.

"I liked to drink, and I had a drug problem, and that didn't jibe with Sarah Jessica, because it is the furthest thing from what she is," Downey Jr., 43, who stars in Iron Man (May 2), says in an interview with Parade. "She provided me a home and understanding. She tried to help me. She was so miffed when I didn't get my act together."

The future Sex and the City star "would pull me out of a hangover, and we'd go pick out furniture together," he continues. "I was in love with Sarah Jessica . . . and love clearly was not enough. I was meant to move on. And, after some heartache, she was meant to find her home with a great star."

Downey, who broke up with Parker in 1991, is now married to his second wife, producer Susan Levin, whom he credits with changing his attitude about life.

"Before I met Mrs. Downey, I just didn't give a god----. What changed is that I cared," he tells the magazine. "I'm learning the business of building a life. Instead of getting instant gratification by getting high, I push my nose as far into the grindstone as I can. The honey, the reward, is the feeling of well-being, the continuity, the sense that I am walking toward a place I want to go."

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