Julia Fiona Roberts is an American actress. She became a Hollywood star after headlining the romantic comedy Pretty Woman (1990), which grossed $464 million worldwide.
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 2005 to 2006. Roberts has been named one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People in the World" eleven times.
She is of English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, German, and Swedish descent.
Roberts was born in Atlanta, Georgia, at Crawford Long Hospital (now Emory University Hospital Midtown), to Betty Lou (née Bredemus) and Walter Grady Roberts. She is of English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, German, and Swedish descent. Her father was a Baptist and her mother a Roman Catholic, and she was raised Catholic. Her older brother, Eric Roberts (from whom she was estranged until 2004), sister, Lisa Roberts Gillan, and niece, Emma Roberts, are also actors.
The youngest of three children, she grew up surrounded by creative individuals. Her parents were both actors who ran a workshop for aspiring writers and performers until their divorce in 1971. Initially Roberts wanted to become a veterinarian, but she abandoned this dream when she realized that she had "an inability to deal with science on a brainiac kind of level.” After graduating high school in 1985, Roberts moved to New York City to live with her sister Lisa.
The family moved to Smyrna, Georgia in 1972, where Roberts attended Fitzhugh Lee Elementary School, Griffin Middle School, and Campbell High School.
After graduating from Smyrna's Campbell High School, she headed to New York to pursue a career in acting. Once there, she signed with the Click Modeling Agency and enrolled in acting classes
In New York, Roberts also joined the family business, landing a guest appearance on the television series Crime Story. She really caught the public's eye, however, as the wild but vulnerable Daisy in Mystic Pizza (1988). The next year, she cemented her status as a rising star in Steel Magnolias (1989), appearing alongside such acting legends as Shirley MacLaine and Sally Field. Roberts earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her work on the film. She was also in the spotlight for her relationships with actors Liam Neeson and Dylan McDermott.
After that, Roberts' career really took off. She played a hooker who falls in love with a client (played by Richard Gere) in the box-office hit Pretty Woman (1990). For her convincing performance, Roberts received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. She followed up the role with a few career missteps i. Dying Young (1991) received mixed reviews, as did Hook (1991), which revisited the story of Peter Pan. Both films also proved to be disappointments at the box office. Around this time, Roberts called off her wedding to actor Kiefer Sutherland, her co-star in 1990's Flatliners, just days before the ceremony was set to occur.
After taking a break from film, Roberts landed another big hit with the thriller The Pelican Brief (1993) with Denzel Washington. She then surprised fans with a quickie marriage to country singer-songwriter Lyle Lovett that same year. The union proved to be short-lived, however, with the pair divorcing after only 21 months of marriage.
Mary Reilly (1996) starred Roberts in a decidedly unglamorous role, playing a maid who works for Dr. Jekyll. Audiences were less than enthusiastic about the film. Returning to her image as America's sweetheart, Roberts dominated the box office with such romantic comedies as My Best Friend's Wedding (1997) with Dermot Mulroney and Notting Hill (1999) with Hugh Grant. Her star appeal even helped draw audiences to the critically panned Runaway Bride, in which Roberts again joined up with Pretty Woman co-star Richard Gere.
In 2000, she made a dramatic breakthrough with her powerful performance in Erin Brockovich. In the film, she played the title character: a gutsy, struggling single mom. Based on a true story, Brockovich helped lead the fight against a California power company that allegedly poisoned a small town's water supply. Roberts won several awards for the project, including her first Academy Award. Her $20 million salary for the film was also a Hollywood milestone, making her first woman to receive such a hefty sum.
The following year, Roberts starred in the independent film The Mexican with Brad Pitt and James Gandolfini. During the making of the movie, she met cameraman Danny Moder. He was married at the time, and Roberts was dating actor Benjamin Bratt. The two became good friends, which later evolved into a relationship after they had split from their respective partners.
After Erin Brockovich, Roberts took on some light-hearted roles, appearing with George Clooney in Ocean's Eleven (2001) and Ocean's Twelve (2004) along with Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Andy Garcia. She was the only woman in the cast in the first installment, which she said had "its ups and downs." Clooney is well known for his love of practical jokes on set, and Roberts did not escape unscathed. She found herself once trapped in her hotel room after her co-stars put shaving cream on her door and blocked it with two heavy potted plants.
On July 4, 2002, Roberts married Moder at her ranch in Taos, New Mexico. The couple welcomed twins Phinnaeus Walter and Hazel Patricia in November 2004. Their third child, son Henry Daniel, was born in June 2007.
Putting her family first, Roberts became more selective about her work. She took on an emotionally challenging part in Closer (2004) with Clive Owen, Natalie Portman, and Jude Law. Directed by Mike Nichols, the film explored the complexities surrounding two relationships marked by deceit and infidelity. Roberts then made her Broadway debut in Three Days of Rain in 2006 with Bradley Cooper and Paul Rudd. While it received mixed reviews, the drama became a huge success financially, earning more than $12 million for a 12-week run.
Roberts then starred in the film, Charlie Wilson's War (2007), with Tom Hanks and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Roberts received a Globe nomination in the Best Supporting Actress category for her portrayal of an anticommunist Texas socialite. Her character encourages Congressman Charlie Wilson to support freedom fighters in Afghanistan in their conflict against the Soviet troops in their country.
Her next project, 2008's Fireflies in the Garden, boasted an all-star cast, which included Willem Dafoe, Emily Watson, and Ryan Reynolds. The family drama gave Roberts a chance to work with her husband, Danny, who served as the director of photography on the film. Fireflies in the Garden was shown during the Berlin Film Festival and released abroad, but it was not given a theatrical run in the United States.
Returning to American cinemas in 2009 with Duplicity, Roberts reunited with Closer co-star Clive Owen. She explained her two-year absence from the American movie scene to People magazine, saying "I don't have the bug to work. I have the bug to make good movies, and those don't come along very often." While the film was not a huge hit, critics heralded her return. "It is an undeniable thrill to see her again," wrote Lisa Schwarzbaum in Entertainment Weekly.
In addition to acting, Roberts has worked behind the scenes. She served as an executive producer for the 2003 short-lived television series Queens Supreme and for television adaptations of the American Girl stories. The most recent television movie was 2008's Kit Kittredge: An American Girl starring Abigail Breslin as the title character.
Roberts continues to find compelling roles to play. In 2010, she appeared in the ensemble comedy Valentine's Day. Roberts also stars in the upcoming drama Eat, Pray, Love, a film adaptation of the best-selling book by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Her parents were Baptist and Catholic, and she was raised Catholic.
Roberts disclosed in a 2010 interview for Elle magazine that she believes in and practices Hinduism. Roberts is a devotee of Neem Karoli Baba (Maharaj-ji). A picture of Neem Karoli Baba drew Roberts to Hinduism.
Roberts has given her time and resources to UNICEF as well as to other charitable organizations. On May 10, 1995, Roberts arrived in Port-au-Prince, as she said, "to educate myself". The poverty she found was overwhelming. "My heart is just bursting", she said. UNICEF officials hoped that her six-day visit would trigger an outburst of giving: US$10 million in aid was sought at the time.
In 2000, Roberts narrated Silent Angels, a documentary about Rett syndrome, a neurodevelopmental disorder, which was shot in Los Angeles, Baltimore and New York. The documentary was designed to help raise public awareness about the disease. In July 2006, Earth Biofuels announced Roberts as a spokeswoman for the company and as chair of the company's newly formed Advisory Board promoting the use of renewable fuels. She also supports Gucci's "Chime For Change" campaign that aims to spread female empowerment.
Roberts was the voice of Mother Nature in a 2014 short film for Conservation International, intended to raise awareness about climate change.
Music & Bands
She played clarinet in the band in school.
Roberts reportedly had romantic relationships with actors Jason Patric, Liam Neeson, Kiefer Sutherland, Dylan McDermott, and Matthew Perry. She was briefly engaged to Sutherland; they broke up three days before their scheduled wedding on June 11, 1991. On June 25, 1993, she married country singer Lyle Lovett; the wedding took place at St. James Lutheran Church in Marion, Indiana. They separated in March 1995 and subsequently divorced. From 1998 to 2001, Roberts dated actor Benjamin Bratt.
Roberts and her husband, cameraman Daniel Moder, met on the set of her film The Mexican in 2000 while she was still dating Bratt. At the time, Moder was married to Vera Steimberg. 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. Together, they have three children: twins Hazel Patricia and Phinnaeus "Finn" Walter Moder (born November 28, 2004) and son, Henry Daniel Moder (born June 18, 2007).