Robert Downey Jr is grateful to his movie star pals who intervened to help him overcome his drug problems because they helped him see just how desperate an addict he was.

Jodie Foster and Stephen Baldwin offered him the tough love he needed to realise he was in trouble and Sean Penn kicked his door down and forced him into rehab.

The actor, who has been clean for two years, first realised how he was affecting his pals when Foster took him to one side on the set of HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, which she directed.

He recalls, "She said, `You're doing great on this film and I know that you're loaded too, so, what's wrong with this picture?I'm worried about you - not on this one because we're almost done and you're gonna be OK and I know that you have a really strong work ethic and you're kind of like a lab rat. You're really resilient. That's not a good thing in this situation. I'm worried about you for the next movie.' She was absolutely right.

"Sean kicked my door down. I'm like, `Jodie Foster..?' and then the next minute the door flies off the hinges and there's Sean Penn in that leather jacket like, `It's time to pay the piper.'

"I was not out of it enough to put up a fight and I think there was a bit of a struggle on the stairway, which he probably won.

"Then Stephen Baldwin was there and he told me to sit in the back of the car and put my hands where he could see them. A lot of people went to great lengths."

24/11/2004 02:27