'Real Housewives' Star Eden Sassoon Says Late Sister's Drug Use Began With Robert Downey Jr., Kim Richards

By McCarton Ackerman 01/06/17

Sassoon's sister Catya died from drug overdose in 2002. 

Kim Richards and Robert Downey Jr.
Kim Richards and Robert Downey Jr.

Eden Sassoon is speaking out about her late sister Catya’s tragic overdose death. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star and daughter of beauty icon Vidal Sassoon shockingly cited cast mate Kim Richards and actor Robert Downey Jr. for the drug use that led to Catya’s death in 2002, at the age of 34.

Catya starred in the 1985 film Tuff Turf alongside Downey Jr. and Richards. On Tuesday’s episode, Eden spoke with RHOBH cast mates Lisa Rinna and Erika Girardi about her late sister, describing Catya as “alive” and “vibrant” before her drug use began during filming.

“Sure enough, they all sort of had their stuff,” said Eden. “I think on this set was the beginning of everybody’s drug and alcohol abuse, if you really look at it. It was kind of pre-fucked up days.” She also admitted to being "very numb" and "completely shut off" about her sister’s death for years.

Eden herself has been sober for four years, explaining on the episode that she now lives her life in a “continual ongoing cleanse.” She is expected to reunite with Richards on next week’s episode, but it’s unclear if Catya will be a focal point in the storyline.

Both Downey Jr. and Richards have also embraced sobriety since filming Tuff Turf. Richards’ alcohol abuse served as a storyline for years on The Real Housewives franchise. The former child star checked herself into rehab for the second time in April 2015, shortly after her arrest for public intoxication, and has reportedly remained sober since.

“I’m just so grateful to be where I am today,” Richards told People magazine last December. "I feel so blessed. I feel powerful. I feel so grateful. Honestly. Life is so amazing today. I wake up happy, I go to sleep happy.”

Meanwhile, Downey Jr. completed one of the most improbable comebacks in Hollywood history to reclaim his career. After numerous arrests related to his drug use and even a prison stint in 1999, he has remained sober for well over a decade.

“Job one is get out of that cave,” he told Vanity Fair in September 2014. “A lot of people do get out but don’t change. So the thing is to get out and recognize the significance of that aggressive denial of your fate, come through the crucible forged into a stronger metal ... But I don’t even know if that was my experience.”

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.