Arnold Schwarzenegger Related to Robert Downey Jr.'s Oscars Speech About a 'Terrible Childhood'

Arnold Schwarzenegger said he "immediately could relate" to Robert Downey Jr.'s speech

<p>Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic; CAROLINE BREHMAN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock </p> Arnold Schwarzenegger; Robert Downey Jr.

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic; CAROLINE BREHMAN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Arnold Schwarzenegger; Robert Downey Jr.

Arnold Schwarzenegger connected with Robert Downey Jr.'s Oscars speech about overcoming troubled pasts.

The actor, 76, and fellow action-star Sylvester Stallone sat down for a joint interview featured in the hour-long special TMZ Presents: Arnold & Sly: Rivals, Friends, Icons that aired April 23 on FOX.

One of the topics covered in the conversation, moderated by TMZ's Harvey Levin, was about the two actors' difficult childhoods.

Schwarzenegger said he identified with Downey's March 11 acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actor, in which he acknowledged his "terrible childhood." The Oppenheimer actor began that speech, "I'd like to thank my terrible childhood and the Academy, in that order."

“I immediately could relate to that," said Schwarzenegger. "Because he went through trouble and pain — I don’t know exactly the story. But for him to thank his s----y upbringing means that it motivated him and kept him going into a different direction rather than staying in the s----y upbringing."

Related: Arnold Schwarzenegger on His ‘Abusive’ Father, 'Complicated' Childhood: ‘Could Have Broken My Spirit’ (Exclusive Excerpt)

<p> Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images</p> Arnold Schwarzenegger

Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Elsewhere in the interview, Schwarzenegger recalled growing up in Austria with an abusive, alcoholic father, who was a war veteran left "angry" and with "a lot of pain."

"If I would’ve grown up like some people do with all the love in the world, I would’ve never left home," the Terminator star said of his perspective now. "I would’ve stayed in Austria. It’s not the kind of life that would have made me happy. … I think what drove me was I had such a need to create my own world; I had to get out of that misery at home."

"It was a blessing in a way," he added.

<p>PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images</p> Robert Downey Jr. on March 10, 2024

PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

Robert Downey Jr. on March 10, 2024

Stallone later said to Schwarzenegger, "You and I had no choice. We were gonna do something. You escaped into body-building, I escaped to the theatrics because I wasn’t too happy with the reality. I said, ‘This is my world because I don’t like this one.' "

Downey, in his Best Supporting Actor acceptance speech, also thanked his wife Susan, saying, "She found me, a snarling rescue pet, and loved me back to life. That's why I am here. Thank you."

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Additionally, he thanked director Christopher Nolan and producer Emma Thomas, plus costars Cillian MurphyEmily Blunt and Matt Damon.

"Here’s my little secret: I needed this job more than it needed me. Chris knew it, Emma made sure that she surrounded me with one of the greatest cast and crews of all time. Emily, Cillian, Matt Damon ... it was fantastic and I stand here before you a better man because of it," he said. "You know, what we do is meaningful, and the stuff that we decide to make is important."

Downey also thanked his stylist, publicist and entertainment lawyer, joking his attorney of 40 years spent half of it "trying to get me insured and bailing me out."

TMZ Presents: Arnold & Sly: Rivals, Friends, Icons is also available to stream on Hulu,, Tubi and on demand.

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