Robert Downey Jr says developing a “moral psychology” helped him through his darkest days.

The 58-year-old actor referenced the years he spent in the grip of drug addiction in the late-1990s and early 2000s during his best supporting actor Oscar acceptance speech on 10 March – where he picked up the gong for his role in ‘Oppenheimer’.

He has now told People about how he pulled himself out of addiction: “I think if you develop a moral psychology, things are a lot easier.

“And I think it’s hard to explain away certain behaviours when there are ways to heal.

“So I both have a lot of empathy for, and I also am a little bit sceptical about anyone who doesn’t lean into what they can do to improve the state of their compass. That’s all.”

During his Oscars speech, Robert thanked his wife Susan Levin, 50, for “loving me back to life”, and joked his long-time lawyer had also spent years backing him by “trying to get me insured and bailing me out”.

Susan added in a joint chat with Robert for People: “I feel like anyone’s journey, no matter how fraught or positive, whatever it is, it is your journey. “There’s nothing we would do differently.”

Susan also said Robert quietly does good deeds that go unpublicised.

She said: “He really does believe in giving back. And he does it through his actions.

“If he sees a performance he likes, he will go out of his way to get ahold of that person, especially anyone young and up and coming.

“If he knows somebody struggling, he’ll reach out, so much to the point that people know to send people towards him, because he will make that time.

“It’s just an appreciation for all he’s gone through, for all the people who were there and stuck around through some of his more difficult times.”