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Taylor Hill/WireImage, Mike Coppola/Getty Robert Downey Jr. (L); Armie Hammer
The Avengers: Endgame actor, who has been open in the past about his own battle with addiction, paid for a six-month Florida rehab stay for Hammer, 35, last year, as the Call Me by Your Name actor struggled with drug, alcohol and sex issues, according to a Vanity Fair report.
Reps for Downey have not responded to PEOPLE's request for comment, while Hammer's lawyer, Andrew Brettler, tells PEOPLE, "I know nothing about that matter."
A source close to both actors tells PEOPLE that Downey, 57, "is the pinnacle of when people in Hollywood are struggling."
"They look to Robert as this beacon of someone who has overcome it [addiction] and is walking out on the other side and Robert takes that honor and responsibility very highly," the insider adds.
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Todd Williamson/E! Entertainment/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images Armie Hammer
The source says that Downey "almost plays a hero in real life," and "tries to be really positive" and "help other people."
"He sees the strength that sobriety has given him and his family life and work life and he just wants to spread this message with other people, and it's not mutually exclusive to Armie," they say. "He's done this with a lot of people. He's been such a tremendous help for several people in Hollywood that people don't know about. He's really helped heal a lot of people."
Long before Iron Man came out in 2008, Downey made headlines in the late 1990s and early 2000s for being arrested and jailed multiple times over drug-related charges. The Oscar-nominated actor has since spoken openly about struggling with addiction before he got sober in 2002.
During a court appearance in 1999, Downey described his addiction as feeling "like I've got a shotgun in my mouth, with my finger on the trigger, and I like the taste of the gun metal."
Now, Downey is one of the world's wealthiest actors. In 2015, he topped Forbes' highest-paid actor list, with earnings that year over $80 million, according to the outlet.
RELATED VIDEO: Armie Hammer Is Working at Resort After Being "Cut Off" from Family Funds (Source)
Hammer was previously embroiled in controversy after messages allegedly from the actor detailing violent sexual fantasies were leaked online. He was later accused of rape by a woman with whom he had been in a relationship, which he categorically denied.
The actor's lawyer told PEOPLE in December 2021 that Hammer had "left the treatment facility and is doing great," after he reportedly checked into a Florida rehabilitation center the previous spring for drug, alcohol and sex issues. (The attorney did not specify when Hammer checked out.)
A source also told PEOPLE at the time that The Social Network star would "continue with outpatient treatments" and that he "takes it very seriously."
While Hammer's attorney Andrew Brettler told PEOPLE this week that he "doesn't know anything about" whether Hammer is selling timeshares in the Cayman Islands, amid reports, Brettler noted that if it's true, "I think it's s----y that the media seems to be shaming him for having a 'normal job.' "
A source told PEOPLE on Thursday that Hammer is indeed working in sales at Morritt's Resort in Grand Cayman "because he needs the money," adding, "His dad [businessman Michael Armand Hammer] won't help him anymore and he's been cut off, so he got to work."
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, please contact the SAMHSA helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.