In preparing for her 'Country Strong' role as a recovering alcoholic attempting a show-business comeback, Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow says she had so much difficulty understanding the mentality of substance abusers, she turned to her friend and 'Iron Man' co-star Robert Downey Jr. to help her get a handle on her character.

And it sounds like his expertise was her secret weapon in mastering the role.

Paltrow, 38, explained to Reuters, "I just couldn't understand how you could be so drunk that you could wreck people's lives and then wake up the next day and pretend everything was fine.... I struggled with that."

So she consulted her now-sober A-list friend, whose own stellar show-business comeback followed years of drug abuse and prison time. "I asked Robert, 'How does this work?' He was really articulate about addiction and the psychology behind it. He really helped me a lot."