Julia Roberts biography
Born on October 28, 1967, in Smyrna, Georgia, Julia Roberts made her debut on the television series Crime Story (1986-88). She starred in Steel Magnolias in 1989, earning an Academy Award nomination for her performance in the film. One of her most iconic roles was in Pretty Woman (1990) with actor Richard Gere. Roberts went on to win an Oscar for her lead role in Erin Brockovich (2010). She is known for being one of the highest-paid actors and biggest box-office earners in Hollywood.
Actress Julia Fiona Roberts was born on October 28, 1967, in Smyrna, Georgia, the youngest of three children and 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 from high school in 1985, Roberts moved to New York City to live with her sister, Lisa, who, along with Roberts's brother, Eric, was pursuing an acting career.
In New York, Roberts also joined the family business, landing a guest appearance on the television series Crime Story (1986-88). She really caught the public's eye, however, as the wild but vulnerable Daisy in Mystic Pizza (1988). The following year, Roberts cemented her status as a rising star in Steel Magnolias (1989), appearing alongside such acting legends as Shirley MacLaine and Sally Field, and earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She was also in the spotlight for her relationships with actors Liam Neeson and Dylan McDermott.
After that, Roberts's career really took off. She played a hooker who falls in love with a client (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 that role with a few career missteps: 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 same time, Roberts called off her wedding to actor Kiefer Sutherland, her co-star in 1990's Flatliners, just days before the ceremony was scheduled to take place.
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, 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 her Pretty Woman co-star, Richard Gere.
Roberts made a dramatic breakthrough in 2000, delivering a powerful performance as the title character in Erin Brockovich: a gutsy, struggling single mom. In the film, which is based on a true story, Brockovich helps lead a fight against a California power company that allegedly poisoned a small town's water supply. Roberts won several awards for her performance in 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. While making 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 and later embarked upon a romantic relationship, after they had split from their respective partners.
After Erin Brockovich, Roberts took on some light-hearted roles, appearing in Ocean's Eleven (2001) and Ocean's Twelve (2004) alongside George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Andy Garcia. She was the only woman in the cast in the series' first installment, which she said had "its ups and downs." Clooney is well-known for his love of practical jokes on the set, and Roberts did not escape unscathed—she once found herself 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 Danny 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 2006, performing in Three Days of Rain alongside Bradley Cooper and Paul Rudd. While the drama received mixed reviews, it was a huge financial success, 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, receiving a Globe Globe nomination (Best Supporting Actress) for her portrayal of an anticommunist Texas socialite who encourages Congressman Charlie Wilson to support freedom fighters in Afghanistan in their conflict against the Soviet troops in their country.
The actress's next project, 2008's Fireflies in the Garden, boasted an all-star cast, including Willem Dafoe, Emily Watson and Ryan Reynolds. The family drama gave Roberts a chance to work with her husband, Danny, who served as the film's director of photography.
Fireflies in the Garden was shown during the Berlin Film Festival and released abroad, but was not given a theatrical run in the United States.
Return to Film
Returning to American cinemas in 2009 with Duplicity, Roberts reunited with her 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 Roberts's 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 on the short-lived TV series Queens Supreme (2003) and on TV adaptations of the American Girl stories, including 2008's Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, starring Abigail Breslin as the title character.
In 2010, she appeared in both the ensemble comedy Valentine's Day and the drama Eat Pray Love—a film adaptation of the best-selling book by Elizabeth Gilbert. The following year, she starred with Tom Hanks in the film Larry Crowne, about a man who reinvents himself after experiencing a midlife crisis. Not long after, she was cast alongside Mark Ruffalo in the TV film The Normal Heart (2014).
Roberts transitioned into the fantasy realm as the evil queen in Mirror Mirror (2012), the retelling of the classic fairy tale Snow White. She starred in the film alongside actors such as Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane and Lily Collins. Despite the addition of Roberts to the already well-known cast, the film received lackluster to mediocre reviews. The following year she appeared in the film August: Osange County, co-starring Abagail Breslin, Ewan McGregor and Meryl Streep.
As one of the world's most popular actresses, Roberts will undoubtedly continue to juggle her life as a self-described "domestic goddess" in the coming years. "Acting fulfills me in a creative way ... and it gives me something to talk about at dinner," she told Allure magazine.