Julia Roberts has been an A-list actress in Hollywood for over three decades and she is still at the top of her game. Her breakout roles came in Steel Magnolias and Pretty Woman and she went on to dominate the ’90s as a romcom star in films including My Best Friend’s Wedding and Runaway Bride. The versatile actress showed off her incredible acting chops in the challenging role of Erin Brockovich, which won Roberts an Academy Award.
Aside from her massively successful career, Roberts has proved to be a compassionate, kind and caring person who has been through some extremely tough times in her life. But Julia has always come out on top and has proved her resilience over the years, which has made her one of the most adored and admired figures of her generation.
She has acting in her blood
Julia Roberts grew up in Smyrna, Georgia and was the youngest of three children. Her parents were both actors who ran a workshop for aspiring writers and performers, which is when Julia was first introduced to her future career.
Roberts admitted that if it wasn’t for her parents, she never would have pursued the vocation. She explained “It just wouldn’t have occurred to me, my dad would take my sister and me to plays when we were young, like six or seven years old. We saw ‘Hair’ in New York on summer vacation. We would go see Yul Brynner do ‘The King and I’ in Atlanta.”
She wanted to be a veterinarian
Prior to realizing her ambition for becoming an actor, as a young girl, Julia wanted to become a veterinarian. As for the inspiration behind it, she divulged “I saw Rex Harrison play Doctor Dolittle when I was a kid and I thought, ‘Well I have that power. I can talk to the animals.
What is wrong with you today? Oh, I see.’ But then I started taking science and biology and realized, ‘Wow, that is hard. I’ll just be an actor.” It goes without saying that Julia would never have become the household name she is today had she actually decided to pursue her initial dream career.
An average high schooler
Growing up in Georgia, Roberts was very much a person who lived a normal life and was just the average teenager. When she was at high school, Roberts blended in with everyone else and she explained “just mediocre, just getting through the hallways with my girlfriend, Paige.”
“We weren’t losers, but we weren’t popular, we were just coasting, that is exactly what we were doing.” She also admitted that she wasn’t noticed by guys in high school but no one would have ever imagined the worldwide superstar she was to become in the future.
She started on TV
After graduating high school in 1985, Julia decided to leave Georgia and head for New York City to pursue acting. She moved in with her sister Lisa who was already living in the city, while her brother, Eric, was also residing there. She got her acting debut on the TV series “Crime Story” and from the outset, it was clear that Roberts was going to be a star.
David Burke said of her “Julia was unusually magnetic, she really popped when she was on screen. You knew she was in it for the long haul, that was clear.”
Despite impressing everyone with her acting skills on the TV show, much like many aspiring actors, Julia hit a bum note when trying to build the ladder in acting. That same year, Roberts had an uncredited role as Babs in the comedy “Firehouse”. However, the film went straight to video and didn’t see any success at all.
Not only was it widely unknown but it also scored 17 percent on Rotten Tomatoes with many of the reviewers unimpressed with the film. This was Roberts’ first taste of the harsh nature of movies and how hard it is to make it big.
The romance with Liam Neeson
In 1987, Julia Roberts starred opposite Liam Neeson in the film “Satisfaction”. Despite the film not behind a hit, sparks flew between Roberts and Neeson and they embarked on a romance. The couple ended up moving in together in New York when the actress was just 19-years-old and Neeson was much older at 35.
The two ended up dating for around two years and even moved to Venice, California together. Ten years later in 1997, the ex-lovers appeared on screen once more in the film “Michael Collins.”
Julia’s big break
Roberts got her big break in 1988 when she played Daisy in the film “Mystic Pizza”. Her strong-willed and feisty personality won over viewers and it was well-received by critics, too. The film also starred Annabeth Gish, Lili Taylor and Matt Damon, who was also early on in his career.
The film focuses on Daisy and Kat who work at a pizza joint while they go through tough times in their respective love lives, and have plenty of bad luck until they find their perfect match. Since its release, the film has seen a large cult following.
When she became a part of Hollywood, Julia Roberts wasn’t one to blend in with everyone else, and this was no different when it came to award ceremonies. When Julia won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress, she chose not to wear the typical couture gown that is so often seen on the red carpet.
Instead, Roberts opted for an oversized Giorgio Armani suit which she picked up off the rack at the store. She said of her outfit “”I loved the shape of it, for me, this was the epitome of being dressed up.” From then on, Julia Roberts was always a stand out star at red carpet events and award shows.
She convinced Richard Gere to star in Pretty Woman
Julia Roberts’ role as Vivian in Pretty Woman was one of her most iconic. Starring opposite Richard Gere, the unlikely love story resonated with audiences and was a smash hit at the box office. 30 years after the film came out, it is still one of the most popular romcoms with fans obsessed with the relationship between Vivian and Edward.
However, Richard Gere almost wasn’t in the film and it took convincing from Julia Roberts to get him to sign on. Gere admitted of meeting Roberts, “We loved each other immediately. It was a nice thing. But to be honest, I didn’t know if I was doing this movie yet.” After Julia wrote “Please say yes” on a post-it-note, Gere simply couldn’t say no to her and the rest was movie history.
That famous smile
Something that Julia Roberts’ is famous for, besides her brilliant acting chops, is that mega-watt smile and infectious laugh. Julia has one of the best sets of teeth in the business and she actually has a secret which keeps them looking so beautiful.
Julia brushes her teeth every night with baking soda. Her grandfather would pour baking soda over his toothbrush and showed Julia to do the same thing. No wonder they are so white and beautiful!
Dating in the 90s
In the 90s, Julia Roberts had just seen massive success in Pretty Woman, and she was one of the biggest actresses in Hollywood. From this, all eyes were on her and everyone wanted to know who she was romantically involved with. In 1990, she began dating Keifer Sutherland, her “Flatliners” co-star but it didn’t come without controversy.
It was reported that she broke off her engagement to Dylan McDermott, her co-star in Steel Magnolias, to be with Sutherland, who also broke off his marriage to Camelia Kath.
A new relationship
Dating Keifer Sutherland came at the expense of both his and Roberts’ partners who they broke things off with, but after this, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. The couple were planning a wedding at 20th Century Fox’s Soundstage 14 which was being done up to look like a garden paradise but just a few days before the wedding, the relationship fell apart.
Roberts explained “I had returned from a trip to Arizona intending to tell Kiefer that I thought it would be best for both of us not to get married. But the next time I talked to Kiefer, he called me on the telephone… And he proceeded to tell me what I was going to tell him, which is he did not want to marry me, he did not want this to happen.” She said that the actor was not nice about the situation and then called back a few hours later to ask if it was on or off.
Hiatus for the better
After a very public and bitter split with Keifer Sutherland, Julia Roberts found herself splashed all over the tabloids and papers and the split seemed to affect her career, too. In 1991, Roberts filmed Dying Young with Campbell Scott and Hook with Dustin Hoffman and Robin Williams, both didn’t do as well as expected.
After a two year hiatus, Roberts filmed the 1993 thriller The Pelican Brief with Denzel Washington, and the film won over critics with many noting that her acting hiatus was a success for the actress.
Despite getting great review for her role in The Pelican Brief, it wasn’t all uphill for Julia. She hit a rough patch in 1996 when she took on the thriller Mary Reilly. The film was a remake of Robert Louis Stevenson’s horror story Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
The film was hyped up and people were really excited to see Roberts take on a main role in the film. However, when it hit theaters, the film bombed and took in $12 million against a $47 million budget with many critics claiming it was less than satisfactory.
Back with Gere
After the huge success of Pretty Woman, there were so many calls for a sequel to the movie and a progression of the love story between Vivian and Edward. Although there wasn’t a greenlit movie, fans got the next best thing and saw Richard Gere and Julia Roberts star opposite one another in rom com Runaway Bride.
Roberts played the role of Maggie who was known for leaving her fiances at the altar, and when Gere steps into the picture, a whole new love story ensues. The combination of Roberts and Gere, directed by Garry Marshall was once again a massive hit, and the film brought in a whopping $309 million.
Finally an Oscar winner
In 2000 after more than a decade in acting, Julia Roberts won an Academy Award. She won Best Actress for portraying the single mom in drama Erin Brockovich. Based on a true story, the film is based around the mother fighting against a power company that allegedly poisoned a small town’s water supply.
In her acceptance speech, Roberts was elated and said “Well, it’s a total honor. It’s thrilling, and on the one hand, it means a lot of things, and on the other hand, it doesn’t really mean anything. It’s a moment in time.”
20 million dollar woman
It wasn’t just an Academy Award for Best Actress that Julia Roberts won for her portrayal of Erin Brockovich, but it was also a substantial pay check. Julia was paid an unprecedented $20 million, a first for any Hollywood actress who were typically paid much less than their male co stars usually.
From this, when George Clooney wanted Roberts in Ocean’s Eleven, he sent her the script with a $20 bill in it and wrote “I heard you’re getting 20 a picture.” This eventually won Julia over to join the movie.
Most beautiful woman in the world
When the public first laid their eyes on Julia Roberts, they couldn’t help but notice how gorgeous she was. Julia stands at 5’9″ and has a body to die for. In Pretty Woman she really showed off her curves with Vivian’s wardrobe, which consisted of tight clothes.
Julia ended up being People Magazine’s Most Beautiful Woman of the Year 5 times. The first time she appeared on the prestigious cover was in 1991, when she was only 23 years old.
Some of Julia’s lovers included her co stars including Lyle Lovett after the two met on set of The Player. The couple ended up married from 1993 until 1995. Shortly afterwards, Julia met cameraman Danny Moder on the set of The Mexican where she worked alongside Brad Pitt in 2001.
Moder was married to someone else at the time and Roberts was also in a relationship with actor Benjamin Bratt. However, the two couldn’t deny their chemistry and split from their respective partners and got together.
The couple wanted to keep their relationships under wraps and got married in a secret ceremony in the summer of 2002. Only a select few of their friends were invited and A-listers including George Clooney, Bruce Willis and Steven Soderberg were among them. Shortly after their marriage, Roberts said “My husband, Danny, has really shined the light for me.
Because of being married, I’ve met people and experienced all these little things that have nurtured my life — not so much changed it, just nurtured it in a way that’s astounding.”
Return to TV
For decades, Julia Roberts had focused on movie roles, but in 2018 she went back to her roots of being on TV. She took on the role of psychologist Heidi in the show “Homecoming” where her character helped soldiers transition back into everyday life after being deployed in war zones.
The show premiered on Amazon Prime and was very well-received by critics, earning Roberts a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama, but she lost out to Sandra Oh at the award show.
Naming her children
Julia Roberts and husband Danny Moder went on to have three children together and the actress was determined to keep them out of the spotlight as much as possible. When it came to naming her children, one of the names she wanted for her third child was George.
However, the actress didn’t want people to think she was naming him after George Clooney, a close and personal friend of hers. In the end she decided up going with Henry.
Her role model
Julia Roberts might be one of the most respected and admired actresses in Hollywood, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have her own role models in the industry. She admitted she is a huge fan of Meryl Streep and said “I’ve never seen anyone work harder than she does.”
She added “She doesn’t just snap her fingers and be a genius. To work with Meryl Streep is a dream come true for anyone. To know her is an honor.”
A method to the makeup
Considering how many movies, TV shows, red carpets and press tours Julia Roberts has been on, she has spent hours upon hours in the makeup chair. While many actors will just sit there and stick out the time, Julia Roberts has been in the industry for so long that she has figured out how to make the process the most comfortable.
Roberts admitted she lays on her back while having her makeup done. Not only does she think it gives her a more relaxed look, it also is a much more pleasurable time for her than being uncomfortable in a trailer.
Rather than getting a script and just going with whatever words are on the page, Julia Roberts has been known to delve much deeper into her roles and tried to put herself in the shoes of her character.
In 2003, Julia Roberts attended art history classes at New York University in order to prepare for her role in Mona Lisa Smile. On top of this, she was able to draw from her experiences playing an art historian in the 1996 film Everyone Says I Love You.
Actress to producer
If Julia Roberts wasn’t already a huge star, she added producing into her many talents. She co-runs the production company Red Om Films with her husband. The name spells out Danny Moder’s surname backwards and the two run it together.
Between 2004 and 2008, Roberts was an executive producer and produced the first four American Girl films. She also served as executive producer on her Amazon TV show Homecoming in 2018, which saw a fantastic reception from fans and critics and earned her a Golden Globes nomination.
Every family has internal issues, and Julia Roberts’ family is no different. The relationship with her brother Eric became problematic when Julia sided with Eric’s ex-girlfriend in a custody case over their daughter, actress Emma Roberts.
After this event, the siblings were estranged for many years as they didn’t see eye to eye over this issue. However, they were able to reconcile in 2004 when Roberts gave birth to their twins after realizing that the new additions to their family were more important than an argument.
Pasta for days
Anyone who has seen Eat Pray Love can safely say that the ‘eat’ section of the movie made them incredibly hungry. The mouth watering scenes of Julia Roberts eating the most delicious pasta and antipasti in Italy could make anyone starving while enjoying the movie.
In these scenes, Julia didn’t hold back and she really did eat all of the food seen on screen. As a result, the actress admitted she gained 10 pounds from those scenes. It seemed like it was worth every bite though.
She’s a soccer fan
While we know that Julia is a fan of knitting in her off time while on set, one of her other joys happens to be soccer. Julia is a big fan of UK soccer team Manchester United FC and she has graced their stadium on quite a few occasions.
More than this, she is said to be friends with their midfield player Paul Pogba, and was seen attending training camp in California at the team’s preseason tour of the US in 2017.
Eat Pray Love seemed to have a profound effect on Julia Roberts, and not because of all the appetizing Italian dishes she consumed in the filming. In 2010, the actress announced that she was a practitioner of Hinduism after first becoming interested in it after seeing a photo of a guru.
This, followed by her filming of Eat Pray Love in a northern Indian ashram, helped her develop a sense of belonging and understanding of the ideology in Hinduism. Nowadays, she practices the religion in all aspects of her life.
Keeping busy on set
Julia Roberts might be an incredible actress and one of the most famous women in the world, but in her down time, she likes to be low key and relaxed, just like the rest of us. Julia’s hobby is knitting and she explained her love for the practise, adding “The nice thing about that is you can be sociable while you’re doing it, so it passes the time on a movie set.
Sally Field taught me to do needlepoint on ‘Steel Magnolias’ and a standby painter on ‘The Pelican Brief’ taught me to knit. I’m pretty good at it now!”
Global ambassador for Lancôme
Since Julia was, and still is, considered one of the most beautiful women in the world, the house of L’Oreal had to have Julia as a global ambassador for Lancôme , which is part of the L’Oréal Luxury Products division.
Julia has been the face of Lancôme’s perfumes Tresor (Treasure in English), and La vie Est Belle (Life is beautiful). She has also promoted foundations and mascaras of the French luxury beauty brand.