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Robert Downey Jr. & Howard Stern: 5 things we learned from their interview

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As part of his long, exhaustive press tour for Avengers: Age of Ultron, Robert Downey Jr. sat down with Howard Stern to talk about everything from turning 50 to getting tapas with Sarah Jessica Parker. Here are the highlights.

1. He spent “a couple million dollars” on his 50th birthday party.

Downey turned 50 back at the beginning of April, and he celebrated with an all-out bash, complete with pop culture references from the decades of his life. Guests entered through a white tunnel projected with Vietnam imagery and Charlie Brown clips as the 1965 Lesley Gore song “It’s My Party” played — all to celebrate the year he was born. Downey said his goal was to “disorient people” as they entered, but he ended up being the one who got dizzy: “Only several people had adverse reactions, and I was one of those people.”

2. He booked Duran Duran and Steely Dan, but when they invited him up on stage, he froze.

Downey’s a longtime Steely Dan fan, and he told Stern, “I’ve gone to their concerts. I was at the Beacon, and I was just sitting there, crying during every song.” But when they played his party and invited him to sing with them on stage, he forgot the lyrics. “I was out of my body,” he said. “It was a horrifying band-fan moment.”

3. He dropped out of Gravity because the camera setup made him feel claustrophobic.

Downey was originally supposed to star opposite Angelina Jolie in Alfonso Cuarón’s film, but Downey left the project when he realized that he couldn’t handle the confined space. “We did it for about 20 minutes. I said, ‘This is crazy, how much longer?’ They go, ‘It’s like another two to four hours,’ and I said, ‘No it isn’t.’”

4. He reconnected with his ex, Sarah Jessica Parker, over tapas.

Last time he was on the Howard Stern Show, Downey said he wanted to reach out to Sarah Jessica Parker, and the two just got dinner. He also talked to Stern about how his perspective on relationships has evolved as he’s gotten older, saying, “Any time I was in a relationship, I thought, You’re going to bury me next to this woman, and it’s not that simple, and God has other plans.”

5. He asks his wife for permission to spend more than $500.

While Downey said he didn’t regret his extravagant party, he admitted that his upbringing has kept him frugal. “I think that the rarefied air of being someone who comes basically from nothing and has all this opportunity and has socked some dough away, it just feels dangerous to be self indulgent,” he said.