Julia Fiona Roberts (born October 28, 1967) is an American actress and producer. She became a movie star after headlining the romantic comedy Pretty Woman (1990), which grossed $464 million worldwide. After winning two Golden Globe Awards and also receiving Academy Award nominations for Steel Magnolias (1989) and Pretty Woman, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Erin Brockovich (2000).
Her films Mystic Pizza (1988), Sleeping with the Enemy (1991), Hook (1991), The Pelican Brief (1993), My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997), Conspiracy Theory (1997), Notting Hill (1999), Runaway Bride (1999), Ocean’s Eleven (2001), Ocean’s Twelve (2004), Charlie Wilson’s War (2007), Valentine’s Day (2010), Eat Pray Love (2010), and Mirror Mirror (2012) have collectively brought box office receipts of over $2.6 billion, making her one of the most successful actresses in terms of box office receipts. In 2013, she appeared in August: Osage County, for which she received her fourth Academy Award nomination.
Roberts was the highest-paid actress in the world throughout the 1990s and the first half of the 2000s. Her fee for 1990’s Pretty Woman was $300,000; in 2003, she was paid an unprecedented $25 million for her role in Mona Lisa Smile (2003). As of 2010, Roberts’s net worth was estimated to be $140 million. She has been named one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People in the World” eleven times, tied with Halle Berry. In 2011, she was named one of the “100 Hottest Women of All-Time” by Men’s Health.
Early life and family
Roberts was born on October 28, 1967, in Smyrna, Georgia, to Betty Lou Bredemus (1934–2015) and Walter Grady Roberts (1933–1977). She is of English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, German, and Swedish descent. Her father was a Baptist; her mother, a Roman Catholic. She was raised a Catholic. Her older brother, Eric Roberts, from whom she was estranged until 2004, her sister Lisa Roberts Gillan, and her niece Emma Roberts, are also actors. Roberts’s parents, one-time actors and playwrights, met while performing theatrical productions for the armed forces. They later co-founded the Atlanta Actors and Writers Workshop in Atlanta, Georgia, off Juniper Street in Midtown. They ran a children’s acting school in Decatur, Georgia, while they were expecting Julia. The children of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Coretta Scott King attended the school, with Walter Roberts acting as their daughter, Yolanda Denise King’s, acting coach. As a thank-you for their service, Mrs. King paid Mrs. Roberts’s hospital bill when Julia was born.
Her parents married in 1965.Roberts’s mother filed for divorce in 1971; the divorce was finalized in early 1972. From 1972, Roberts lived in Smyrna, Georgia, where she attended Fitzhugh Lee Elementary School, Griffin Middle School, and Campbell High School. In 1972, her mother married Michael Motes, who was abusive and often unemployed; Roberts despised him. The couple had a daughter, Nancy Motes, who died at 37 on February 9, 2014 of an apparent drug overdose. The marriage ended in 1983, with Betty Lou divorcing Motes on cruelty grounds; she stated that marrying him was the biggest mistake of her life. Roberts’s own father died of cancer when she was ten.
Roberts wanted to be a veterinarian as a child. She also played the clarinet in her school band. After graduating from Smyrna’s Campbell High School, she attended Georgia State University, but did not graduate. She later headed to New York to pursue a career in acting. Once there, she signed with the Click Modeling Agency and enrolled in acting classes.
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: $10 million in aid was sought at the time.
In 2000, Roberts narrated Silent Angels, a documentary designed to raise public awareness about Rett syndrome, a neurodevelopmental disorder, which was shot in Los Angeles, Baltimore, and New York. 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 has also raised awareness for climate change through her role as Mother Nature narrating a Conservation International Film that relayed the fact that nature does not need humans, but humans need nature.