Julia Roberts was born on October 28, 1967, in the Atlanta suburb of Smyrna, Georgia. Julia was born into an acting family, with both parents as former actors and playwrights. They co-founded the Atlanta Actors and Writers Workshop and ran a children’s acting school. Julia and her brother Eric were both destined to enter the family business-and both did very successfully.
Julia’s parents divorced when she was only five years old. Her father passed away from cancer when Julia was just ten years old. In high school, Julia was an average student who liked music and played the clarinet. Julia had always loved animals and thought she wanted to become a veterinarian, until she entered Georgia State University and found out it required “science on a brainiac kind of level.”
After dropping out of university, Julia headed to New York City to pursue acting. Once there, she signed with a modeling agency to help pay the bills and also enrolled in acting classes. After a few small parts on TV and films, Julia’s big break came fairly quickly in the independent film “Mystic Pizza” (1988).
In 1989, Julia landed a role in “Steel Magnolias”, alongside big screen icons Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah and Olympia Dukakis. Julia played a young bride with diabetes and the film was a huge hit at the box office. Julia even received her first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role.
This started a string of box office hits for Julia. In 1990, Julia costarred with Richard Gere in “Pretty Woman” which earning more than $460 million worldwide. Julia only got the role after Michelle Pfeiffer, Molly Ringwald and Meg Ryan turned it down, but it ended up earning Julia another Oscar nomination, this time for Best Actress.
In 1991, Julia shocked us by playing a battered wife who escapes her abusive husband, in the thriller “Sleeping with the Enemy”. Julia was actually offered the role of Annie Reed in “Sleepless in Seattle” (1993), but turned it down. Instead, Julia took the role in John Grisham’s political thriller, “The Pelican Brief” (1993) co-starring with Denzel Washington.
At the time, Julia was dating Mathew Perry of TV’s “Friends” fame and even appeared in an episode in the second season. Throughout the 1990’s Julia appeared regularly on the big screen in “My Best Friend’s Wedding” (1997), opposite Dermot Mulroney, “Stepmom” (1998) opposite Susan Sarandon, “Notting Hill” (1999) with Hugh Grant, and in “Runaway Bride” (1999), her second film with Richard Gere.
In 1999, Julia was dating “Law and Order” star Benjamin Bratt and appeared in one episode of the TV series that eared her an Emmy award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series. In 2000, Julia played the lead role of real-life environmental activist Erin Brockovich and this time won the Oscar for Best Actress. Julia was now the highest paid actress in Hollywood.
In 2001, Julia costarred in the remake of the 1960 “Rat Pack” film “Ocean’s 11” alongside Andy Garcia, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon. The film was a huge box office hit and lead to Julia’s role in the sequel “Ocean’s 12” (2004). In 2003, Julia received a record $25 million (most ever for an actress to that point) to appear in “Mona Lisa Smile”. Julia then lent her voice to a series of animated films and in 2007 she appeared in “Charlie Wilson’s War”, with Tom Hanks and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
In 2010, Julia took us with her on her journey around the world in the box office hit, “Eat Pray Love”. Julia then played Queen Clementianna, Snow White’s evil stepmother in “Mirror Mirror” (2012). In 2013, Julia appeared in “August: Osage County”, playing one of Meryl Streep’s three daughters and the role earned Julia her fourth Oscar nomination.
In her personal life, Julia did not have much luck early on, dating several “A-List” Hollywood actors, and even engaged to Kiefer Sutherland, which ended three days before their scheduled wedding in 1991. In 1993, Julia married country singer Lyle Lovett, but they separated within two years and eventually divorced. Breaking her usual pattern, Julia fell in love with someone “normal” and married a cameraman from her movie “The Mexican” (2000) in 2002. The couple had twins in 2004 and a son in 2007.
At only 49 years of age, we look forward to Julia entertaining us for many more years to come.
Fred Jacobs is a full time resident of Puerto Vallarta and the author of three books.