'It can't really appeal to anyone': The truth behind Julia Roberts' split from Benjamin Bratt

It's hard to believe it's been over two decades since Julia Roberts and Benjamin Bratt were shacked up as one of our favourite Hollywood couples.

Along with Jen and Brad, and the Beckhams, they're one of THE big couples that defined the late '90s.

But after four years of restaurant canoodling and high-wattage smiles on the red carpet, the couple broke up and never spoke again.

So what went down between the Oscar winner and the Law & Order heartthrob? Read on to find out.

Julia Roberts and Benjamin Bratt dated for four years, after meeting in a restaurant in 1997.


What happened between Julia Roberts and Benjamin Bratt?

The two legendary actors dated for four years after meeting in 1997, but ultimately, the scrutiny of fame became too much for them.

"Last week we were engaged, and this week we are broken up, and next week she will be abducted by aliens, and the following week we will marry, and she will give birth to an alien child," Bratt said, shortly after their breakup.

Of course, rumours also abounded that Roberts was secretly sleeping with her close friend, George Clooney.

While they were together, it certainly seemed like a fairytale romance. As one of the most talked-about celebrity couples of the time, people were certain that nothing could come along to break them up.

Roberts and Bratt were one of the most high-profile couples at the time, dominating tabloid headlines. (Ron Galella Collection via Getty)

Roberts told Oprah they were "just ecstatically happy", adding: "We're drunk with joy 24 hours out of the day. We're sickening."

They were constantly spotted out to dinner in New York City, often enjoying a healthy dose of PDA with their meals.

But by 2000, there were rumours swirling about the couple's demise. "At this point, they haven't seen each other in months.

It's not necessarily over, but it's certainly hit a crisis point," one source reported.

The major speculation behind the breakup was that Roberts wanted to settle down and start a family, but Bratt wasn't interested or as committed to the relationship.

In 2000, Roberts' reps denied the reports, Bratt's team declined to give a comment.

The next year, the pair were spotted together at the Oscars, Bratt fixing the train of Roberts' dress as she took to the stage to accept Best Actress for her role in Erin Brockovich.

Julia Roberts won an Oscar for her role in the 2000 movie Erin Brockovich. (Getty)

Less than three months later, the couple announced they had split for good, with multiple outlets reporting he wanted Roberts to move to San Francisco, but she refused, choosing instead to focus on her career.

When Bratt first commented on the breakup, it seemed like he couldn't handle the media attention they'd been receiving.

"I wasn't so naïve as to go into that relationship thinking, 'This will be an entirely normal experience'. Soon, however, I experienced that living at that level of visibility is something that doesn't appeal to me.

And I discovered it can't really appeal to anyone," the actor confessed.

Roberts kept a brave face in public following the news of their split.

"I loved Benjamin. He's a good man, he's a fine man. He is, to the exultation of the female single population, not my man anymore," she told David Letterman.

Julia Roberts and George Clooney remain close friends, but deny ever having an affair while she was with Bratt. (Getty Images for Universal)

The actress added the Clooney rumours were totally false.

"It [the media] has to make it messy.

It has to be all about me going out with George Clooney, a kind, lovely man but not my boyfriend."

"It's come to a kind and tender-hearted end, and my only regret is that the media can't accept that it's tender-hearted and kind," Roberts concluded.

How did Julia Roberts and Benjamin Bratt meet?

No, they did not meet on the set of Law and Order; the couple actually met for the first time at a restaurant. "[Bratt] walked in, and I looked up at him, and it was like something hit me over the head with a bat," Roberts told Vanity Fair of their first encounter.

Benjamin Bratt was known for his four-year stint on Law & Order from 1995 to 1999. (Getty)

However, neither of them actually spoke to each other that evening.

To this day, Roberts refuses to tell the full story of their first interaction, only saying the story was interesting, hilarious, wonderful, and private, hence her decision to keep it a secret.

Are Julia Roberts and Benjamin Bratt still friends?

As with most celebrity breakups, the party line delivered by both teams was that the couple remained good friends.

Roberts maintained the split was amicable – despite tabloid reports that it was messy and ugly – saying nothing but kind words about her ex.

Julia Roberts denied any rumours of cheating or ill-will between her and her ex, Benjamin Bratt. (Getty)

Since their split in 2001, they haven't spoken publicly about each other, or been seen together at all.

What episode of Law and Order was Julia Roberts on?

Julia Roberts appeared in a guest role of the show's milestone 200th episode, tited 'Empire'. At the time, Bratt was still playing the lead role on the show. She played a "high-class escort" who becomes involved with a murder.

It was actually Roberts – a huge fan of Law & Order even before dating Bratt – who approached the producers to be a part of the show.

However, she didn't want her appearance on the show to overshadow its 200th episode milestone, asking for a closed set and refusing to do any press in the lead-up to its air date.

Julia Roberts was a huge fan of Law & Order before she snagged a guest star role on the show. (NBC)

The show's cast and crew were worried that she'd waltz in, acting like a diva on set. "But she could not have been more courteous," said executive producer Ed Sherin.

Roberts' siblings, Lisa Roberts Gillan and Eric Roberts, have also appeared in episodes of the Law & Order franchise.

Julia Roberts' dating history

Though Roberts has been married to her husband, Danny Moder, since 2002, during the '90s her personal life repeatedly made headlines.

In 1987, when 19-year-old Roberts was just making a name for herself in Hollywood, she was romantically linked to Liam Neeson, who was 35 years old at the time.

Julia Roberts and Liam Neeson met on the set of 1988's 'Satisfaction', and also starred together in the 1996 film 'Michael Collins'. (Warner Bros.)

The following year, she started dating her Steel Magnolias co-star Dylan McDermott.

Though they kept their relationship fairly private, it was reported that they'd gotten engaged, but Roberts ended things before they could tie the knot.

In 1990, Roberts began a high-profile and whirlwind romance with Kiefer Sutherland, who had just been divorced from actress Camelia Kath.

Within a few months, they were engaged, and had planned a lavish ceremony which People predicted would be the "fantasy wedding of the decade".

However, just days before it was set to take place, the couple released a joint statement: "It has been mutually agreed upon that the wedding has been postponed."

Kiefer Sutherland and Julia Roberts met on the set of Flatliners in 1990. (Columbia Pictures)

Though Sutherland tried to make out like he was jilted at the altar, Roberts maintained there was no foul play between them. Years later, Sutherland confirmed that Roberts had made the right choice in calling off the nuptials.

"I commend Julia for seeing how young and silly we were, even at the last minute, even as painful and as difficult as it was. Thank God she saw it," he told Rolling Stone.

In 1993, Roberts began dating country singer Lyle Lovett. "I had a very strong reaction to meeting him," Roberts told Barbara Walters.

"Different to the way I've ever reacted to any person on the planet... He's perfect."

Julia Roberts married Lyle Lovett after just a few weeks of dating.

Within weeks, they were married in a small private ceremony.

After two years, they announced their split, saying it was all amicable, but they weren't right for each other. 

Just a few years later, Roberts met Benjamin Bratt – the pair dated from 1997 to 2001.

Not long after her split from Bratt, the actress was linked to cinematographer Danny Moder, who she met while filming The Mexican.

 At the time, he was already married.

Julia Roberts and Danny Moder have been married for over two decades. (AAP)

Moder finalised his divorce in early 2002, and by July of the same year, married Roberts in a ceremony held at her ranch in New Mexico.

The couple have been together ever since, and have three kids.

Benjamin Bratt's dating history

Bratt hasn't had quite the high-profile dating history as his ex. In fact, Roberts was the first star he had a public relationship with. 

He was briefly linked to fellow actress Jennifer Esposito in August 2001, though it didn't last long.

Benjamin Bratt and Talisa Soto married the year after he split from Julia Roberts (Getty)

In 2002, Bratt married actress and former Bond girl Talisa Soto, after just a few months together. They had actually met 10 years earlier at a casting call, and rekindled their friendship while filming Pinero.

The couple are still married, and have two kids. 

Tom Hanks Under Fire: Directorial Debut Slammed by Critics - Is This the End of an Era? 🔥🎥
Watch Out Hollywood: Meet Julia Robert's 3 Next Generation Stars! (Hazel, Phinnaeus & Henry)
Why Did Hugh Grant Fear that Julia Roberts Might Hate Him After THIS?
Jennifer Aniston Pulled Over To Greet Angelina Jolie In Their One And Only Meeting
Julia Roberts Spent Whopping $8.3M to Keep Her Kids Safe From Paparazzi to Avoid Ben Affleck and Angelina Jolie's Fate After Hollywood Stardom
The Big Bang Theory: Why Sheldon Is Actually The Show's Main Character
Young Sheldon Makes Sheldon’s Nobel Win In Big Bang Theory Worse
Young Sheldon Renewal Risks Creating More Big Bang Theory Plot Holes
The Big Bang Theory: 10 Things Sheldon Did That Fans Just Can't Let Go
Young Sheldon Reveals Another Difference From Big Bang Theory's Original
Young Sheldon Created A Big Bang Theory Amy & Sheldon Marriage Plot Hole
Young Sheldon Explains Why Sheldon Mocks Howard So Much In The Big Bang Theory
Young Sheldon Season 7 Update Moves Show Closer To Determining Its Final Season
Julia Roberts says age discrimination towards women in Hollywood is 'silly'
Julia Roberts cuts a casual figure in denim while on a walk with her dog in Los Angeles
The Real Reason Julia Roberts Has Recently Appeared In A Rom-Com Film
"He would not be known as a s*x symbol": Richard Gere Was Ready To Drag Talk Show To Court For A Very Valid Reason
‘Did They Just Show The Whole Movie?’: Fans Fuming After George Clooney, Julia Roberts Movie Ticket To Paradise Trailer Reveals Entire Story
“I’m just wearing a c*ck sock”: Bryan Cranston’s Intimate Scene With Julia Roberts Backfired Horribly After Getting Too Excited About Filming
Julia Roberts Won't Shoot A Film With This Iconic Actor