Julia Roberts has been one of Hollywood’s highest paid actresses and the biggest box office draws since her iconic role as a prostitute in “Pretty Woman” and later her Oscar winning role as Erin Brockovich.
Julie Fiona Roberts was born on the 28th October 1967 in Smyrna, Georgia, the youngest of three children born to Walter and Betty Lou Roberts. Both her parents were actors who ran a family business running workshops in their home for aspiring writers and performers. They separated when she was 4 years old and later divorced. One of the events which left its mark on her life was the death of her father from cancer at age 47 years old when Julia was just ten.
Julia loved animals, often coming home with stray or injured animals. It was hardly surprising that her childhood ambition was to become a veterinary surgeon. However, she was forced to abandon the idea when she realized that she didn’t have the academic wherewithal to succeed as a vet. She left home for New York City within days of graduating from high school to live with her older sister and her husband, who were both pursuing acting careers at the time. Whilst in New York, she worked as a waitress and took acting classes in the evening.
She suffered several rejections by the acting world, in the beginning she even tried her hand at modeling but found that not to her liking. She then decided to change her name from Julie to Julia because there was another actress who was named Julie Roberts.
Julia made her acting debut when she made a guest appearance in the television series “Crime Story”. However, it was not until her appearance in “Mystic Pizza” that she began to catch the public eye, although she still needed another boost. After filming Mystic Pizza she was struck down with a mystery illness and was hospitalized for several weeks. Whilst visiting one day her mother offered to read her a script entitled “Steel Magnolias” that had been sent to her some time before, Julia refused. However, sometime later Julia picked up the script and realized it offered her a golden opportunity.
The following year she appeared in the film “Steel Magnolias” acting with some of Hollywood?s great female actresses, including Sally Fields and Shirley Mc Lain. She was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actress. After this her career took off in a big way. Her next role was in as a prostitute in “Pretty Woman” opposite Richard Gere in 1990, for which she received the nomination for best actress. Pretty Woman was a huge success costing $14 million to make and grossing $178 million at the box office in the United States. Next came “Dying Young” released in 1991, which received mixed critical reviews.
In 1993 she landed another big role starring opposite Denzel Washington in “Pelican Brief”. Whilst on the set of “The Player” she met country singer Lyle Lovett whom she married within a surprisingly short space of time after meeting him. The tabloid press went crazy mostly commenting on his unconventional looks, while completely ignoring the fact that he was a highly educated man who had studied journalism and European languages and was a well read and witty man. The marriage ended in divorce 21 months later but they were able to remain firm friends.
Her next successful role was in the comedy “Notting Hill”, starring opposite the English actor Huge Grant. Next came “Erin Brockovich” which was the story of a strong assertive real-life character. This role won her numerous prizes for the Brockovich project including her first Oscar. The salary paid for her work in the film was $20 million, which broke Hollywood records as the highest sum ever paid to a female actress at that time.
Before her marriage, Julia has been linked romantically to several Hollywood actors including Liam Neeson and ‘badboy’ Keifer Sutherland to whom she was at one time engaged. Days before the wedding she found out that he was having an affair with another actress, Amanda Rice.
In 2001 she made an independent film “The Mexican”. While filming she met cameraman Danny Moder. When they met he was married and she was also in a relationship. Their friendship quickly evolved into much more, causing them both to split from their respective partners. The following year on the 4th July 2002 Julia and Moder married on her ranch in Taos, New Mexico. Two years later in November 2004, Julia gave birth to twins, Phinnaeus Walter and Hazel Patricia and three years thereafter they had a son whom they named Henry Daniel.
From here onwards family life became more hectic and as a result Julia began to ‘cherry-pick’ the projects she was willing to accept in an effort to accommodate the needs of her family. In 2006, she accepted a part in Broadway production “Three Days of Rain” for which she received mixed reviews; however, it was a huge financial success grossing $12 million at the box office in just a 12 week run.
In 2007 starred with Tom Hanks in “Charlie Wilson’s War”, in 2008 she made Fireflies in the Garden and she made “Duplicity” in 2009 with Denzel Washington. Her talents are not confined to acting, she has shown herself to be a credible executive producer when in 2003 she worked on the television series “Queen Supreme” and she has brought four of the American Girls to life in made for TV movies.
Her career successes includes 1 Oscar, 3 Golden Globe awards, 1 BAFTA award, and 1 Emmy nomination. Other films to her credit includes “Sleeping with the Enemy,” “Mary Reilly,” “Runaway Bride” and “Hook” among others. Her latest work is “Mirror Mirror” released in the spring of 2012.
When she was asked about her life as a wife and mother, to which she replied that she was a “Domestic goddess” who finds fulfillment through creativity as an actress, she further said that her life as an actress is something she can talk about around the dining table.