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Robert Downey Jr. Surprises Fan Whose Life Was Changed By Iron Man

Robert Downey Jr. Surprises Fan Whose Life Was Changed By Iron Man

Robert Downey Jr. has surprised a young fan whose life was drastically changed Iron Man. The 54-year-old was a guest host on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, where he met 10-year-old Vincent.

Vincent's mum Nicole and dad Andy also appeared on the show, where they opened up to the actor about their little boy's journey.

Delving into their story, Downey Jr. asked: "I have a few questions for y'all. You're ten now. Lost the ability to speak when he was one and then what happened?"

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Giving some insight into their life, an emotional Nicole then said: "Well, we had a lot of red flags that cropped up."

Vincent even named his dog after the superhero. Credit: NBC/The Ellen DeGeneres Show
Vincent even named his dog after the superhero. Credit: NBC/The Ellen DeGeneres Show

And went on: "His imagination play; he would line stuff up, he would just spin things for countless hours."

The couple then explained how they consulted with family members about Vincent's behaviour, before getting a confirmed diagnosis that he was on the autism spectrum.

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After being asked about how it felt not being able to communicate how he was feeling to his parents, Vincent told the Avengers star that it was 'painful'.

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Andy added: "It was really painful for him. Now that he has a voice I go back and I ask him, 'hey, tell me about what you were thinking that day' or 'tell me about this time', and some of the things he talks about is not being able to make friends back then or not having the ability to tell us about what was going on in his life."

But at the age of six, things began to change when Vincent got his own Iron Man mask, which helped him learn to communicate.

A feeling Downey Jr. revealed he could relate to, explaining: "To me, too, it's so wild in playing this character, there's something I think for all of us when you're able to wear a mask if you're doing theatre in school or Halloween or whatever, I had a particular affinity, you and I both did with this same mask for some reason."

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Vincent is a massive Iron Man fan. Credit: Marvel
Vincent is a massive Iron Man fan. Credit: Marvel

Talking about how he felt with the mask on, Vincent said: "It helped me talk, it helped me hide my identity from the world."

And his love for the superhero grew so much that he even named his dog Mr Stark, complete with an Arc Reactor name tag.

It's moments like this that Downey Jr. said will be the toughest to say goodbye to when leaves the MCU.

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He said: "People always say, 'What will you miss most about having played this part?' It, obviously, is being able to talk to moms and dads and young folks and being able to say, 'Somehow or other, this had a positive impact on you'."

Following their interview, the actor presented Vincent and his family with a $20,000 ($15,400) cheque from Shutterfly.

Featured Image Credit: NBC/Ellen DeGeneres

Topics: Iron Man, TV and Film, Interesting, US Entertainment, Marvel

Dominic Smithers

Dominic graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in French and History. Like you, Dom has often questioned how much use a second language has been. Well, after stints working at the Manchester Evening News, the Accrington Observer and the Macclesfield Express, along with never setting foot in France, he realised the answer is surprisingly little. But I guess, c'est la vie. Contact us at [email protected]