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She’s an Oscar favourite, wife and mum, but life hasn’t always been so filled with joy for Julia Roberts

With three adorable children, her own luxurious ranch and the husband of her dreams, Julia Roberts’ life is the envy of many.

But things haven’t always been so picture-perfect for the troubled actress, who grew up surrounded by death, violence and divorce.

While she’s gone to great lengths to escape the darkness of her childhood, Julia is playing a woman forced to confront her dysfunctional family past in Oscar-favourite film August: Osage County, and now a new threat of a tell-all book is opening her own old wounds.

The star’s own family pain centres around her former stepfather, Michael Motes. In a biography about Julia by James Spada, it was claimed Motes ‘alternately ignored, pushed around and denigrated his two stepdaughters’, leading Julia to ‘fear and despise’ him.

‘I’m writing a book about my life that will tell my side of the story,’ reveals the retired theatre critic and antiques dealer, who married Julia’s mum, Betty Lou, in 1972 and who is the father of Julia’s half-sister, Glee producer Nancy Motes. 

According to Julia’s brother, Eric Roberts, the problems first surfaced when Julia was just five. Michael moved into the family home after marrying Betty and, when Julia’s dad, Walter Roberts, died from throat cancer five years later, he became her sole father-figure.

Sources claim he was prone to alcoholism and violent outbursts, allegedly once smashing Julia’s Walkman against a wall. And while he refused to hold down a steady job, Betty was forced to work all hours just to make ends meet.

‘The guy who raised us was f---ed up,’ alleges Eric, who, as the eldest, moved out of the family home soon after Michael moved in. Claiming that his mother ‘beat the hell’ out of him, the actor says he had an even worse relationship with Michael. ‘It is not your children’s job to provide a vent for your anger and frustration,’ Eric, 57, says. ‘Our mother’s husband terrorised me, and I fear he terrorised my sisters, Julia and Lisa, as well. I was horrified when I thought what my poor sisters were going to have to endure living with Motes.’



  • Yes, but really, how many of us full well have experienced alcoholic fathers & its violence? These experiences are tame compared to many - 'smashed a walkman'? Tsk! How about fists through wood doors, beaten wives, meals prepared by the mother chucked at walls etc? I grew up with an alcoholic, angry, uncontrollable father also. These celebrities feel they've had it worse than the rest of us when in fact they should count their blessings they have no money worries and eat well every day! Report this»

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