The Family Feud That Nearly Destroyed Julia Roberts’ Life


Everybody who has watched a few movies knows who Julia Roberts is. She has an absolutely legendary resume and has permanently secured her position as America’s sweetheart. To see her light up the silver screen, you might think that Roberts was always destined for fortune and fame.

However, that couldn’t be any further from the truth. In reality, Roberts’ life has been filled with tragedies that often put her relationship with her brother Eric to the test. Just what are these family tragedies, and how did they help to both start and ultimately end her family feud with her brother? Keep reading to find out!

Julia Roberts and Eric Roberts were torn apart by divorce

Julia and Eric Roberts were born to Betty Lou Bredemus and Walter Grady Roberts. We’re not sure what originally drew these two together when they got married in 1955, but by 1971, Bredemus had filed for divorce. Things sounded quite ugly, with her citing cruelty as the reason the two split apart.

If the divorce was ugly, then the custody battle was even uglier. By the time the smoke cleared, Julia Roberts was living with her mother and Eric Roberts was living with his father. To make things worse, they lived very far from one another, with Julia remaining in Smyrna, GA and Eric moving out to Atlanta, GA.

New romance leads to new suffering

Eventually, Betty Lou Bredemus moved on and got married to Michael Motes. This should have been a happy occasion for her, effectively giving her a second chance at love. Unfortunately, this relationship disintegrated faster–and many would say fiercer–than the one before.

They got married in 1972 and even had a child together (Nancy Motes) in 1976, but the marriage had been rocky from the beginning. It wasn’t much of a surprise when Bredemus filed for divorce in 1983. Of course, there’s always a chance she would have filed earlier if not for the shocking news that her ex-husband Walter Grady Roberts had passed away in 1977 due to throat cancer.

Eric beats Julia Roberts to Hollywood

Despite their rough upbringing, both Julia and Eric Roberts ended up making amazing Hollywood careers for themselves. These days, there is no disputing that Julia is a much bigger star than her brother. Back in the day, however, nobody could have predicted that outcome.

That’s because not only did Eric Roberts begin acting before his sister did, but his amazing talents made waves throughout Hollywood. He received a Golden Globe nomination for his performance in the 1978 film Gypsies and later received an Academy Award nomination for his performance in the 1986 film Runaway Train. Eric had his entire career ahead of him, but it didn’t take long for Julia Roberts’ career to overtake her brother’s.

Julia Roberts takes the acting world by storm

Eventually, Julia Roberts moved to New York and began working for the Click Modeling Agency. She also took classes to learn more about acting, and she soon landed a breakout leading role in the film Mystic Pizza. To this day, Eric Roberts takes credit for using his influence to help his sister land this important gig.

After that film, Julia Roberts’ career took off in a powerful way. She received Academy Award nominations for her performances in both Steel Magnolias and Pretty Woman, and she ended up taking home the Oscar for her performance in Erin Brockovich. Her professional life was a smashing success, but eventually, her personal life would be torn apart by something completely unexpected.

The start of serious sibling rivalry

While Julia Roberts was becoming the highest-paid actress of the 1990s, Eric Roberts was balancing both a career and a family. He was already living with his girlfriend Kelly Cunningham, and the two of them had a daughter, Emma, in 1991. Sadly, the couple could never really make their relationship work, and they split up soon after Emma was born.

This led to a very public custody battle that took an unexpected turn when Julia Roberts actually sided with Cunningham, claiming that her brother’s daughter would be better off being raised by his ex-girlfriend. This led to an angry and betrayed Eric cutting off all contact with his famous sister.

Both joy and tragedy bring the family back together

These days, Julia Roberts and Eric Roberts are on great terms. There are two main reasons for this: one is that Julia has helped Eric’s daughter Emma achieve an amazing acting career of her very own. The other primary reason is that the two reconciled after Julia Roberts got married to Danny Moder and had a pair of twins with him in 2004.

They had an emotional reconciliation after Eric came by the hospital to drop off some flowers. Between the sibling reconciliation and Emma Roberts’ skyrocketing career, it seemed the family had left that early darkness all behind them. Unfortunately, it returned when Julia and Eric’s half-sister Nancy Motes was found dead in 2014.

Julia was very public about how much this shocking death affected her and the rest of the family. Fortunately, Emma joined Julia and Eric, and these two cinematic siblings faced this tragedy as they had faced so many others: together.

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