Robert Downey Jr. Pardoned for Past Drug Conviction After Paying 'His Debt to Society'

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Merry Christmas indeed, Iron Man.

Robert Downey Jr. has been officially pardoned for a 1996 drug conviction. The then 31-year-old actor was arrested in Los Angeles after authorities found heroin, cocaine, and a pistol in his car. After violating his parole for that arrest, Downey spent nearly a year in prison.

Now, the 50-year-old actor has been pardoned, along with 91 other people, by California Governor Jerry Brown.

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“By completion of his sentence and good conduct in the community of his residence since his release, Robert John Downey, Jr. has paid his debt to society and earned a full and unconditional pardon,” the pardon reads.

The news should come as a relief to Downey, who says he has been drug-free since 2003 and has made it clear that he wants to move on from that time in his life.

While promoting Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron earlier this year, the actor walked out of an interview with UK's Channel 4 News when he was repeatedly questioned about the "dark period" in his life.

“I just wish I’d left sooner,” Downey later said. "What I have to do in the future is give myself permission to say, 'That is more than likely a syphilitic parasite, and I need to distance myself from this clown.’"

Now, check out this flashback to an incredibly bashful RDJ when ET caught up with him in 1987: