“I’m too tall to be a girl, I never had enough dresses to be a lady, I wouldn’t call myself a woman. I’d say I’m somewhere between a chick and a broad.”
When you take a look at Julia Roberts’ list of roles, there’s no denying she’s a talented, well-rounded, incredible actress. But she’s also more than just a pretty face. This is a woman with some serious gumption, and a whole lifetime of fascinating story beyond the skills that made her famous.
Keep reading to find out more about this charming, down-to-earth, and yet endlessly interesting woman.
34. Six Degrees of Martin Luther King Jr.
Try and follow along:
Julia Roberts’ parents co-founded the Atlanta Actors and Writers Workshop. They also had an acting school for children in nearby Decatur, Georgia when Julia was still in the womb. Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King, enrolled their kids in the acting school, and Julia’s dad personally coached their daughter, Yolanda Denise King. Mrs. King would (literally) repay the couple by footing the hospital bill for when Julia was born. Yeah, that’s a lot to take in.
Basically, Julia Robert’s birth was bankrolled by the daughter of MLK. That’s quite an auspicious start to your life.
33. Completely Different Career Path
When she was young, Roberts played the clarinet in her high-school band, and wanted to become a veterinarian.
Later, she actually studied journalism in school… although she never managed to complete her degree.
Which is all worth remembering if you’re feeling a little bit lost or stuck. Even our idols go through some twists and turns on the path to greatness.
32. Keep the Change
Notorious prankster George Clooney once sent Roberts, his good friend, an envelope that he’d filled with a note and a 20 dollar bill. He sent the note when he found out that she’d joined the cast of Ocean’s Eleven. It said, “I hear you’re making 20 a picture now,” referencing the fact that she was the first actress to earn $20 million when she starred in Erin Brockovich… and it’s rumored that she’s earned at least $20 million for every role she’s played since.
31. Young and in Love
Her first acting gig was on the TV show Crime Story. Following that, she starred in the movie Satisfaction.
She and co-star Liam Neeson, who was 16 years her senior, fell in love and moved in together, but it didn’t last long. The couple broke up after just a year.
Shocking! Don’t most celebrity marriages last forever?
30. Looking for Love
Some other famous men Roberts has dated include: Dylan McDermott, Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric, Lyle Lovett (to whom she was married for 21 months), Matthew Perry, and Benjamin Bratt. “I realized immediately that he is someone who will always challenge me in that great way that keeps you moving forward,” Roberts said of Bratt in an interview with McCall’s in 2000. “[He] is all a girl could ever ask for.”
29. Settling Down
Roberts later married cameraman Daniel Moder in 2002. At the wedding, guests were treated to hot dogs, hamburgers, and corn on the cob for their dinner (the kind of wedding we all grow up fantasizing about).
The pair had twins, Phinnaeus and Hazel, in 2004. Incredible names, by the way.
28. What’s in a Name?
The couple’s third child, Henry, originally may have been a George. Roberts changed her mind on the name, thinking people would assume she was naming her son after George Clooney.
Good thing there aren’t any famous Henrys in the world.
27. Give Her a Break
Her big break came in 1988 in Mystic Pizza, which led to her being offered a host of roles in Hollywood.
But for a couple years, Roberts was considered little more than eye candy. In the end, it was her role as Vivian in 1990’s Pretty Woman that really cemented Roberts as an actress. She would earn an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for the role.
26. Reversing Roles
Ironically, Meg Ryan turned down the role in Pretty Woman, and Roberts turned down Ryan’s role in Sleepless in Seattle. We can only wonder what those movies, and each lady’s career, would have been like if they had reversed those roles.
I mean imagine the iconic “I’ll have what she’s having!” scene, but with Julia Roberts replacing Meg Ryan. Pretty wild!
25. Body Double
If you look closely at the movie poster for Pretty Woman, Roberts’ body is not actually featured. Oddly, her head was pasted onto her body-double’s body. The imitation is admittedly pretty convincing though. I mean, there’s people in 2018 who don’t use Photoshop that effectively. Kudos to the artist.
24. Breaking Barriers
When she starred in Mona Lisa Smile in 2003, Roberts made $25 million for her role, something that had never happened for an actress until that point. In fact, you could argue that Julia Roberts single-handidly raised the bar for the money a woman could make as an actress in Hollywood. Pretty incredible stuff.
23. Left, Left, Left Right Left
Sometimes an actor or actress has to undergo unbelievable physical transformations to fit into a roll.
This isn’t one of those times. Although it is still impressive!
For her role in Erin Brockovich, Roberts had to learn to do things the “right” way. She herself is a lefty, while the real-life Brockovich is right-handed. That’s an admirable attention to detail, considering that most movie-goers would most likely not have noticed which hand Roberts was using (or known about Brockovich’s dominant hand).
22. How Do You Even Do That?
It’s a little bit surprising, but Roberts used to bite her toenails instead of clipping or cutting them. That’s right! Whereas plenty of people chew their nails, Roberts stood out by changing up the game!
We hope her feet were clean at least.
21. No Skeletons in Her Closet
Despite her toenail biting, Roberts still has great teeth, and is well known for her pearly whites. When archaeologists found a female, 9,000-year-old skeleton in 2004 in Bulgaria, they gave her the name “Julia Roberts” because of the skeleton’s great set of chompers. Now that is a compliment.
It does make you wonder though: what tricks was this 9000 year-old person using to keep their mouth so clean? I mean, did they have dentists back then? I thought the standard of dental care for most of human history was basically just, “Whelp… I guess we’ll pull out another one.”
20. Million Dollar Smile
When you’ve a signature body part, and you’re an incredibly famous person, that little piece of you becomes astonishingly valuable.
To whit: The actress has those famous teeth insured, for 30 million dollars.
Which makes Julia Robert’s teeth alone worth more cash than everything I own.
Hmmmm. Let’s file that under “Facts I Didn’t Really Need To Know”.
19. Not-So Secret Admirer
Canadian singer-songwriter Chantel Kreviazuk wrote a song about the actress. “Julia” was written after Kreviazuk spotted Roberts at a restaurant in Los Angeles.
Flattering, but also a little odd, don’t you think. After all, you don’t usually write a song about someone you haven’t even talked to. Well, unless you’re James Blunt.
18. Video Didn’t Kill the Movie Star
In 2005, Roberts starred in a music video for the Dave Matthews Band’s “Dreamgirl”.
That’s a big get for any band! So how’d they manage it? Well, she’s gone on record saying that she’s a massive fan of theirs.
Which brings up an interesting thought. Is it strange for celebrities to be devoted fans of other celebrities? Like it must be a little odd to have, say, a poster of someone up on your wall, when there’s a pretty good chance you’ll meet and work with that person.
17. Girl Crushing
Roberts is also a huge fan of Meryl Streep. “I’ve never seen anyone work harder than she does,” Roberts has said. “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.”
That description is reminiscent of another quote, about what it takes to become a world-class performer: “The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.”
Now that is inspiring.
16. Knit Two, Purl One
She’s a knitter! “I sit on the set and knit,” she has said. “It’s a very social hobby, as opposed to reading at work—I can chat with people and still be fully engaged.”
If anyone on set with her is thinking, they ought to be making requests of her. After all, can you imagine what you could sell a Julia Roberts Original for on Ebay? Speaking of which… Julia, if you’re reading this, do you mind making us a few hats? We will take very good care of them.
15. Pillow, Please!
When she’s having her makeup applied on set, Roberts lays on her back. She claims that it gives her a more relaxed look.
14. Mona Lisa Art Class
If you studied art history at New York University around 2003, you may have seen Roberts hanging around. She took the classes in order to prepare for her role in Mona Lisa Smile. That film wasn’t the first time she played an art historian, either—she also played one in 1996’s Everyone Says I Love You.
13. Red Om not Red Rum
Roberts co-runs the production company Red Om Films (read “Red Om” backwards—it’s her hubby’s last name). Between 2004 and 2008, she executive produced the first four American Girl films.
12. All in the Family
Her brother is actor Eric Roberts, whose daughter is actress Emma Roberts.
11. But it Wasn’t Purple Rain
In 2006, she starred in her first Broadway play, Three Days of Rain. However, she had terrible reviews, and it only lasted for 70 shows. Still, the play, which also starred Paul Rudd and Bradley Cooper, took in almost 1 million dollars in just its first week and was generally considered a commercial success.
10. All in a Day’s Work
That same year, 2006, she made $5 million posing for eight print ads for Gianfranco Ferre, which took all of one day of work. How do we sign up for that?
9. Making Smart Choices
Roberts took a two-year break from acting in 2007, and made her return in 2009’s Duplicity. Of the break, she told People magazine, “I don’t have the bug to work. I have the bug to make good movies, and those don’t come along very often.”
8. That’s a Lot of Pasta
While in Italy filming Eat Pray Love, she says she gained 10 pounds just because of all the pasta she was eating. Don’t worry Julia, we gained 10 pounds just watching the film.
7. Big Screen, Small Screen–She’s Still Great!
Roberts took a break from the big screen when she co-starred in the HBO movie The Normal Heart. She earned herself an Emmy Award for portraying a doctor who treats patients dealing with AIDS.
6. Hoping for a Co-Star
For the 2015 film Secret in Their Eyes, she emailed Nicole Kidman the script with the note “Will you do this with me?” attached. That must have been the easiest casting process Kidman has ever gone through!
5. Ole, Ole Ole Ole!
She’s a fan of soccer, and a supporter Manchester United FC. She’s also said to be friends with midfielder Paul Pogba, and was seen attending training camp in California during the team’s preseason tour in the US in 2017.
4. Finding Inner Peace
In 2010, Roberts announced that she is a practitioner of Hinduism; she was initially drawn to the religion after seeing a photo of a guru. The year before, while filming Eat Pray Love, a Swami gave all three of her children names of Hindu gods.
3. Stepping Outside the Acting Zone
Roberts is also really into giving back. Amongst other charitable organizations, she has donated her time and resources to UNICEF, even travelling to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in 1995. She has also narrated a documentary about Rett syndrome aimed at raising awareness about the neurodevelopmental disorder.
2. Beautiful Julia
Roberts has had the honor of being named People’s most beautiful woman an incredible five times! She’s won in 1991, 2000, 2005, 2010, and 2017. Hard to argue with that assessment. Although it does make you wonder what happened in the years in-between each win. Was she not beautiful in 2014, for example?
1. Concrete Jungle Where Dreams Are Made
Roberts moved to New York City once she graduated high school in 1985. She lived with her sister and brother when she got there, signed on with a modelling agency, and started taking acting classes.
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