Robert Downey Jr. found having to publicly redeem himself after going through addiction to be "unnecessarily humiliating".

The 58-year-old actor was arrested several times on charges related to drugs and spend six months in prison for missing a court-ordered drug test in the late 1990s, but he has been clean since 2003 and while he has "great pride" in the fact he was able to speak openly about overcoming his struggles, he admitted it felt unfair that he was put in a position where he felt obliged to try and turn public opinion of him around.

He told the New York Times magazine: "I remember with great pride that I was able to even address something like that in a public forum. Yet it would irk me deeply. It felt strangely punitive and unnecessarily humiliating.

"The challenge, though, is, yeah, so what? F*** what you’re going through. Can you show up for this?

"There’s a great story about this guy — this would never play nowadays — he was in one of his last Zen trainings, and he was told to go to the lingerie section at Lord + Taylor and just stand there until women felt uncomfortable. It’s this idea of purposefully putting yourself in a situation where you will feel judged.

"The only difference between that misguided aspiring Zen master and me is I didn’t sign up to have that kind of experience. But once you’re there, you gotta roll with the punches."

The 'Oppenheimer' actor admitted he finds cancel culture "baffling".

He said: "I am close with people right now who have gotten caught up in this iteration of the pendulum-like nature of culture deciding who is and isn’t OK. It is baffling."

The 'Iron Man' actor advised those who find themselves out of favour with the public to "be still" and wait for things to die down.

He said: "I feel a bit fugazi when I’m trying to apply the metrics of the ’80s, ’90s and the early aughts to what’s occurred in the last five or seven years, but I think there’s usually a two-year turnaround on sinking to the depths of the Mariana Trench until you get back up to the surface.

"You come up too quick, we know what happens.

"There are many points in a comeback or being seen in a favourable light by your peers that, I’ll speak for myself, I wanted to happen sooner than it did, and I felt victimised by the timeline.

"But mankind’s greatest challenge is to be still. Stay on the bus. The scenery’s changing. You don’t get to decide where you get off the bus. The driver will let you know when you’ve arrived at your stop. But that’s that intolerable thing of how will I know when this nightmare is over? How do you know? Because you wake up."