Michael Ochs Archives/Getty ImagesBY KELLY BRAUN/MARCH 18, 2021 2:52 PM ESTWhen you think of Hollywood, you cannot help but have Julia Roberts come to mind. The award-winning actress has captivated fans with her memorable smile, effortless sense of style, and of course, her legendary acting skills. Since rising to fame in the late 1980s, the Pretty Woman star has made fans fall in love with her both on and off the screen.
Roberts is used to her life amid the glitz and glamour of Hollywood now, but the Oscar recipient spent her early years growing up in a small town in Georgia. Born on Oct. 28, 1967, to her late parents, Walter Grady Roberts and Betty Lou Bredemus, Roberts' did not have much exposure to acting aside from a workshop her father and mother briefly ran when she was a child, per Britannica. Still, she yearned to star on the big screen one day, and so Roberts left her hometown to pursue a career in New York City after graduating from high school. Though she struggled to land gigs at the start, she eventually went on to become one of the most iconic Hollywood heavyweights in all of showbiz.
In addition to earning her status as legendary A-lister, Roberts has developed a beautiful confidence in herself over the years. "At this point in my life, I really believe I have a good understanding of who I am," she shared in the August 2019 issue of Marie Claire. Keep scrolling to see Roberts' gorgeous transformation through the years.
Julia Roberts becomes a star in 1989Michael Ochs Archives/Getty ImagesJulia Roberts' career began after she relocated from her small hometown in Georgia to New York City. The then-recent high school graduate was not sure what path she wanted to take in life, but she ultimately chose the Big Apple after coming to the conclusion that she "had three choices," the actor told The New York Times in March 1990. "I could get married, I could go to college, or I could move to New York. Nobody was asking to get married and I didn't want to go away to school, so I moved."
After getting settled in NYC, Roberts signed with a modeling agency. However, she did not land any gigs (via Britannica). Fortunately, thanks to her older brother, Eric Roberts, the brunette beauty landed her first role when he recommended she play his on-screen sister in Blood Red in 1986, though the drama didn't premiere for three more years in 1989. Prior to the release, she made her debut in 1987's Crime Story, followed by Firehouse that same year. Her first lead role, however, did not come until she starred in Mystic Pizza in 1988, per IMDb.
Roberts' career took off in 1989 when she snagged a starring role in Steel Magnolias. The actor appeared alongside Hollywood veterans Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, and Sally Field. Roberts' portrayal of the bride-to-be Shelby Eatenton garnered her first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Throughout the 1990s, though, Roberts further cemented her status in showbiz and became a household name.
Julia Roberts' career and love life are catapulted into the spotlightKypros/Getty ImagesAfter establishing herself as a prominent actor in the late 1980s, Julia Roberts worked steadily throughout the 1990s, appearing in some of the most famous films to this day, like Pretty Woman, Sleeping with the Enemy, My Best Friend's Wedding, and Stepmom — which also marked her debut as executive producer.
But, while Roberts was enjoying her taste of fame and superstardom, her career became overshadowed by her highly publicized marriage to Lyle Lovett, the American singer and actor. The couple was first linked in June 1993, according to People, and their relationship was the definition of a whirlwind considering they married later that month. However, their union ended less than two years later in 1995 (via InStyle).
Following their split, Roberts focused on her Hollywood career, capping the decade off with Notting Hill and Runaway Bride. She reunited with Pretty Woman co-star Richard Gere for the latter film, and for the actor, working alongside Roberts was a dream come true. Gere said the magical — but platonic — connection was evident from the first moment they met on the set of Pretty Woman. "I was so mesmerized," he told the Los Angeles Times in 2015.
By 2000, Roberts reinvented her professional image when she launched her own production company, Shoelace Productions (via Britannica). That same year, she starred in Erin Brockovich, which garnered her a Golden Globe in 2001, as well as an Oscar for Best Actress.
Julia Roberts gives romance another shot with Danny Moder
Arnaldo Magnani/Getty ImagesJulia Roberts' life changed in the 2000s when she crossed paths with Danny Moder while filming The Mexican. Moder was working as a cameraman on the set of the 2001 adventure comedy, while Roberts was starring opposite Brad Pitt.
Although there was an undeniable spark between the two, Roberts and Moder were in other relationships when they met. The Dead to Me cinematographer was married to ex-wife Vera Steimberg, whom he married in 1997, and Roberts was dating her boyfriend of four years, Benjamin Bratt. Their romances did not last, however, as they ultimately split from their respective partners and became a couple. They wasted no time walking down the aisle, either, marrying shortly after Moder's divorce was finalized in July 2002 (via Meaww).
But just as the Eat Pray Love actor and Moder were falling in love, their relationship was in the light for some negative reasons. Aside from allegations that they were having an affair, per Radar Online, Roberts earned the title of "homewrecker" for supposedly ruining Moder's marriage (via Meaww).
Despite the headlines, Roberts has no regrets about giving love another shot with Moder, calling the moment they first met a "seismic shift" that completely changed her. "That was the first, like, my life will never be the same in the most incredible, indescribable way ... he truly, to this day, to this minute, is just my favorite human," she gushed on The Goop Podcast in November 2018 (via Entertainment Tonight).
Julia Roberts transforms from Hollywood star to dedicated mom
InstagramAfter experiencing a failed marriage and other broken romances, fame and fortune from her career, and critically-acclaimed praise for her work as an actor, Julia Roberts thought she had been through it all. However, she began a new (and extremely exciting) chapter when she became a mother alongside husband Danny Moder.
The Wonder star got her first taste of motherhood when she gave birth to their twins, daughter Hazel Patricia Moder and son Phinnaeus Walter Moder, on Nov. 28, 2004. According to People, the children arrived at around 3 a.m. "Mother and babies are doing great," her publicist Marcy Engelman said at the time (via CNN). Despite having their hands full with their twin babies, Roberts and Moder expanded their family when they welcomed their youngest child, Henry Daniel Moder, on June 18, 2007. "All of the Moders are doing great," her publicist followed up at the time, per Reuters.
As Roberts raised her kiddos alongside Moder during the early years of their childhood, she set some time aside for her Hollywood work. But no matter what film she was starring in — including 2004's Closer, 2006's Charlotte's Web, 2008's Fireflies in the Garden, and 2009's Duplicity, among others — being a mom is the star's proudest accomplishment. "The thing is, we have these three human beings who are just a complete reflection of the affection we have for each other," Roberts told InStyle in November 2017.
Julia Roberts is living the dream as an actress, wife, and mom of three
David M. Benett/Getty ImagesWhen it comes down to it, there's no denying Julia Roberts has left an indelible mark on Hollywood throughout the last three decades. While her journey has been filled with its fair share of ups and downs, the Mona Lisa Smile alum is grateful for the unforgettable memories.As she's gotten older, Roberts has shifted her focus from her professional work to her family with husband Danny Moder. Though she continues to star in some of the hottest hits, including her latest acting credits in Homecoming and Ben Is Back, Roberts said she has learned to be much "more selective" in terms of the gigs she takes because she does not want to jeopardize her time with her children.
"I'm more careful about the films I choose because we have a family and it's not just about me," the beloved beauty proclaimed to Marie Claire in August 2019 (via Entertainment Tonight). "My husband and I try not to work at the same time. It can happen, but... there are my projects, Danny's projects, the children's school planning, it's all about scheduling."
However, Roberts has yet to give up her status as a Hollywood heavyweight, as she's set to appear in Little Bee and Gaslit in 2021. There's no stopping her!