Julia Fiona Roberts (born October
28, 1967) is an American actress. She is known for starring in the
romantic comedy Pretty Woman opposite Richard Gere, which grossed $463
million worldwide. After receiving Academy Award nominations for Steel
Magnolias in 1990 and Pretty Woman in 1991, she won the Academy Award for
Best Actress in 2001 for her performance in Erin Brockovich. Her films,
which also include romantic comedies such as My Best Friend's Wedding,
Mystic Pizza, Notting Hill, Runaway Bride, and crime films such as The
Pelican Brief and Ocean's Eleven and Twelve have collectively brought box
office receipts of over $2 billion, making her the most successful actress
in terms of box office receipts.
Roberts had become one of the highest-paid actresses in the world, topping
the Hollywood Reporter's annual "power list" of top-earning female stars
from 2002 to 2005, until 2006, when Nicole Kidman won the top spot. Her
fee for 1990's Pretty Woman was $300,000; in 2003, she was paid an
unprecedented $25 million for her role in Mona Lisa Smile. As of 2007,
Roberts's net worth was estimated to be $140 million.
Roberts was the first actress to appear on the cover of Vogue. GQ once
erroneously claimed she was the first woman to appear on their cover, but
later retracted the statement (Carol Channing appeared on a GQ cover in
1964). She has been named one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful
People in the World" eleven times, tied with Halle Berry. In 2001 Ladies
Home Journal ranked her as the 11th most powerful woman in America,
beating out then national security advisor Condoleezza Rice and first lady
Laura Bush. Roberts has a production company called Red Om Films, formerly
Shoelace Productions ("Moder" spelled backwards, after her husband's last
Roberts was born in Atlanta, Georgia at Crawford Long Hospital (now Emory
Hospital Midtown), the daughter of Betty Lou (née Bredemus) and Walter
Grady Roberts. Her older brother, Eric Roberts (from whom she was once
estranged, but reconciled with in 2004), and sister, Lisa Roberts Gillan,
are also actors. Roberts' parents, one-time actors and playwrights, met
while performing theatrical productions for the armed forces and later
co-founded the Atlanta Actors and Writers Workshop in Atlanta, Georgia,
off Juniper Street in Midtown. While her mother was pregnant with Roberts,
she and her husband ran an acting school for children in Decatur, Georgia.
The children of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King attended
the school. As a thank-you for their service, Mrs. King paid the hospital
bill when Roberts' mother gave birth to Julia.
Roberts' mother filed for divorce in 1971, with the divorce being
finalized early in 1972. The family moved to Smyrna, Georgia (a suburb of
Atlanta) in 1972, where Roberts attended Fitzhugh Lee Elementary School,
Griffin Middle School and Campbell High School. Her mother re-married to
Michael Motes and had another daughter, Nancy Motes, who was born in 1976.
Roberts' father died of cancer when she was ten.
In school, Roberts played clarinet in the band. She wanted to be a
veterinarian as a child, but soon after graduating from Smyrna's Campbell
High School, she headed to New York to join her brother and sister Lisa
Roberts Gillan and pursue a career in acting. Once there, she signed with
the Click modeling agency and enrolled in acting classes. She reverted to
her original name "Julia Roberts" when she discovered that a "Julie
Roberts" was already registered with the Screen Actors Guild. Her niece
Emma Roberts, whom Julia used to take to movie sets when she was a young
girl, has joined her father and aunts in the acting business.
Roberts made her film debut playing a supporting role with her brother,
Eric, in Blood Red (she has just two words of dialogue), which, although
filmed in 1987 was not released until 1989. Her first television
appearance was as a juvenile rape victim in the initial season of the
series Crime Story with Dennis Farina, in the episode titled "The
Survivor", broadcast on February 13, 1987. She appeared on Sesame Street
opposite the character Elmo, demonstrating her ability to change emotions.
Roberts first caught the attention of moviegoers with her performance in
the independent film Mystic Pizza in 1988; that same year, she had a role
in the fourth season finale of Miami Vice. The following year, she was
featured in Steel Magnolias as a young bride with diabetes and got her
first Academy Award nomination (as Best Supporting Actress) for her
Roberts became known to worldwide audiences when she co-starred with
Richard Gere in the Cinderella/Pygmalionesque story Pretty Woman in 1990.
Roberts won the role after the first two choices for the part, Molly
Ringwald and Meg Ryan, both turned it down. The role also earned her a
second Oscar nod, this time as Best Actress. Her next box office success
was the thriller Sleeping with the Enemy, playing a battered wife who
escapes her demented husband, Patrick Bergin, and begins a new life in
Iowa. She played Tinkerbell in Steven Spielberg's Hook in 1991, and also
played a nurse in the 1991 film Dying Young. This work was followed by a
two-year hiatus, during which she made no films other than a cameo
appearance in Robert Altman's The Player (1992). In early 1993, she was
the subject of a People magazine cover story asking, "What Happened to
In 1993, she co-starred with Denzel Washington in the successful The
Pelican Brief, based on the John Grisham novel. She also starred alongside
Liam Neeson in the 1996 film Michael Collins. In 1995 she appeared in
season 2 of Friends (episode 13 "The one after the superbowl"). Over the
next few years, she starred in a series of films that were critical and
commercial failures, such as Stephen Frears' Mary Reilly (1996). Roberts
overcame these failures with the commercial and critical success of My
Best Friend's Wedding in 1997. She starred with Hugh Grant in the 1999
film Notting Hill. That same year, she also starred in Runaway Bride, her
second film with Richard Gere. Roberts was a guest star on the Law & Order
television series episode "Empire" with series regular Benjamin Bratt (at
that time her boyfriend). Also in 1999, she starred in the critically
pannel film Stepmom alongside Susan Sarandon.
In 2001, Roberts received the Academy Award for Best Actress for her
portrayal of Erin Brockovich, who helped wage a successful lawsuit against
energy giant Pacific Gas & Electric. While presenting the Best Actor Award
to Denzel Washington the following year, she made a gaffe, saying she was
glad that Tom Conti wasn't there. She meant the conductor Bill Conti, who
had tried to hasten the conclusion of her Oscar speech the previous year,
but instead named the Scottish actor. Roberts would team up with Erin
Brockovich director Steven Soderbergh for three more films: Ocean's Eleven
(2001), Full Frontal (2002), and Ocean's Twelve (2004). Later in 2001, she
starred in the road gangster comedy The Mexican giving her a chance to
work with longtime friend Brad Pitt. In 2005, she was featured in the
music video for the hit single "Dreamgirl" by the Dave Matthews Band.
Roberts had two films released in 2006, The Ant Bully and Charlotte's Web.
Both films were animated features for which she provided voice acting. Her
next film was Charlie Wilson's War, with Tom Hanks and Philip Seymour
Hoffman, directed by Mike Nichols and based on the book by former CBS
journalist George Crile; it was released on December 21, 2007. Fireflies
in the Garden, also starring Ryan Reynolds and Willem Dafoe, was released
at the Berlin International Film Festival in February 2008.
Roberts made her Broadway debut on April 19, 2006 as Nan in a revival of
Richard Greenberg's 1997 play Three Days of Rain opposite Bradley Cooper
and Paul Rudd. Although the play grossed nearly US$1 million dollars in
ticket sales during its first week and was a commercial success throughout
its limited run, her performance drew criticism. New York Times' critic
Ben Brantly described her as being fraught with "self-consciousness
(especially in the first act) [and] only glancingly acquainted with the
two characters she plays." Brantley also criticized the production of
"Greenberg's slender, elegant play," writing that “it's almost impossible
to discern its artistic virtues from this wooden and splintered
interpretation, directed by Joe Mantello." Three Days of Rain received two
Tony Award nominations in stage design categories. In 2009 Lancôme
announced that Julia Roberts will become their global ambassador for their
company. Roberts starred with Clive Owen in the comedy-thriller Duplicity
for which she received her seventh Golden Globe nomination. In 2010 she
will appear in the ensemble romantic comedy Valentine's Day with Shirley
MacLaine, Kathy Bates, and Queen Latifah and the film adaption of Eat,
Roberts has brought to life some of the books from American Girl as films,
serving as executive producer alongside with her sister Lisa. The
company's product lines and services are focused on pre-teen-girl
characters from various periods of American history, embodied as dolls and
featured in narratives including books and movies. Its flagship line is a
collection of historical 18-inch dolls that have books and accessories.
Roberts has produced four movies.
Roberts's films have grossed over $2.3 billion at the American box office,
making her the highest grossing female movie star. She was placed at the
pinnacle of the Ulmer Scale, a comprehensive guide to the global star
power of actors and directors in independent and studio films created by
James Ulmer, ahead of such other luminaries as Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks.
Roberts's personal life has often been in the spotlight. She has had
widely reported romantic relationships with numerous famous men, including
Liam Neeson, Dylan McDermott, Kiefer Sutherland, Lyle Lovett, Matthew
Perry, and Benjamin Bratt. She was briefly engaged to McDermott, her Steel
Magnolias co-star. She met Sutherland in 1990, when he was her co-star in
Flatliners. In August 1990, Roberts and Sutherland announced their
engagement, with an elaborate studio-planned wedding scheduled for June
14, 1991. Roberts broke the engagement three days before the wedding.
Roberts subsequently went to Ireland with Jason Patric, a friend of
Sutherland's. On June 27, 1993, she married country singer Lyle Lovett.
The wedding took place at St. James Lutheran Church in Marion, Indiana,
near where Lovett was appearing on tour with his band. In March 1995, the
couple separated, and subsequently divorced.
In 1998, Roberts began dating Law & Order star Benjamin Bratt, and he was
her escort for the March 25, 2001 Academy Awards ceremony at which she won
her Oscar. Three months later, in June 2001, Roberts and Bratt announced
that they were no longer a couple. "It's come to a kind and tenderhearted
end," she said of their relationship.
Roberts met her current husband, cameraman Daniel Moder, on the set of her
movie The Mexican in 2000. At the time, Moder was married to Vera
Steimberg Moder. He filed for divorce a little over a year later, and
after it was finalized, he and Roberts wed on July 4, 2002, at her ranch
in Taos, New Mexico. On November 28, 2004, they became the parents of
fraternal twins, daughter Hazel Patricia and son Phinnaeus "Finn" Walter.
Their third child, son Henry Daniel Moder, was born on June 18, 2007, in