Julia Roberts’ Rollercoaster Dating History Saw Her Become A Real-Life Runaway Bride

Turns out, she's had some very dramatic relationships.

If you haven’t followed Julia Roberts dating history so far, you might be surprised to learn that she has been married for over two decades. 

But what many people may not be aware of is that Pretty Woman star has had a rather, well, dramatic dating history.

Starting when she first entered Hollywood’s gaze as a teenager, Roberts has also been in the spotlight due to the romantic company she kept.

From being described as a real-life runaway bride at her own wedding to rumours of having a romance with a married man, the 56-year-old actress has fallen prey to the public spotlight for most of her life.

And now, we’re shining a light on the actress’ former flames, diving into the reasons for their split and the rollercoaster of media coverage that followed.

Here’s everything we know about Julia Roberts’ dating history.

Liam Neeson

Allow us to turn back the hands of time to 1987. At the tender age of 19, Roberts was featuring in one of her first ever films, called Satisfaction, alongside Love Actually actor Liam Neeson.

And while the film wasn’t a success, a silver lining came from an out-of-the-blue romance between Neeson and Roberts. In a concerning twist, Neeson was 35-years-old at the time, creating a 16-year age gap between the two.

Apparently the pair dated for a while, and some claimed they even moved in together while living in Venice, California. As we know, Neeson and Roberts did call it quits on their relationship, however, exactly when and why they ended their relationship has never been known.

Liam Neeson, who was one of the first men Julia Roberts dated in Hollywood
(Credit: Getty Images)

Dylan McDermott

While it’s unknown when Neeson and Roberts parted ways, it is known when she began a relationship with actor Dylan McDermott.

In 1988, Roberts scored herself a life-changing role as Shelby Eatenton Latcherie in Steel Magnolias. While filming the movie, she worked closely with her onscreen husband, American Horror Story’s Dylan McDermott, and the pair began dating by May 1988.

McDermott and Roberts kept their relationship under the radar, but dated for nearly two years. And at one point, McDermott and Roberts were allegedly engaged. But Roberts ended their romance in 1990 before they ever got the chance to say “I do”.

Julia Roberts and Dylan McDermott
Julia Roberts and Dylan McDermott (Credit: Getty Images)

Kiefer Sutherland & Jason Patric

Come 1990, Roberts didn’t know that she was about to play a part in one of the biggest love triangles in Hollywood history.

After splitting from McDermott, Roberts took on the role of Dr. Rachel Mannus in the film Flatliners, alongside Kiefer Sutherland. While the movie wasn’t much of a success, Roberts’ love life became one.

Both young up-and-comers at the time, Roberts and her co-star Sutherland started a relationship after meeting on-set. Sutherland was newly divorced from actress Camelia Kath and Roberts had recently broken off a short-lived engagement.

A whirlwind romance, the pair were set to marry one year after meeting in what was then viewed as the wedding of the century. The ceremony itself was set to take place on 20th Century Fox’s Soundstage 14, which had been transformed into a garden-like paradise for the event, according to People. 

However, mere days before their nuptials were set to take place, a publicist for each of the couples released a joint statement announcing that the wedding would not be going ahead.

“It has been mutually agreed upon that the wedding has been postponed,” the joint statement read. 

Julia Roberts and Kiefer Sutherland
Julia Roberts and Kiefer Sutherland (Credit: Getty Images)

But here’s where the plot thickens. On the day that Roberts and Sutherland’s cancelled wedding was supposed to take place, Roberts was spotted enjoying lunch with fellow actor—and best friend of Sutherland—Jason Patric. This has since drawn comparisons to Roberts’ character in Runaway Bride, who had a habit of leaving men at the alter. 

As for why Roberts called it quits with Sutherland, the actress herself confirmed that it wasn’t as dramatic as the media made it out to be.

In fact, the reason was a simple matter of acknowledging that their relationship wasn’t “right for either of us”. However, it’s important to note that Sutherland had been accused of an affair with a go-go dancer, named Amanda Rice.

Despite this, Roberts also admitted that she hoped Sutherland would have leaned into the media circus. 

“I feel like Kiefer, for whatever reasons, tried to make it seem like he was the victim of the situation,” she told Entertainment Weekly.

“I quite honestly believe that Kiefer knows that it’s the best thing for himself and for me that it didn’t happen. But he shouldn’t try to make himself look better by taking shots at me. Somehow or another, it turned into Kiefer being left at the altar. Well, I just don’t understand that, quite frankly.”

Jason Patric and Julia Roberts
Jason Patric and Julia Roberts (Credit: Getty Images)

Almost two decades later, Sutherland has since publicly commended his ex-fiancé for deciding to call things off.

“We were both young, and we were both very much in love, we had decided that we wanted to get married, but then this other thing kind of took over,” Sutherland told The Jess Cagle Interview in 2016.

“She was arguably the most famous woman in the world, and this wedding that was supposed to be something between the two of us became something so big.”

“It wasn’t what she wanted to do in the end,” he said. “And I think it took a lot of courage, in amongst all of that other stuff, to be able to say, ‘I can’t do this.'”

“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 also told Rolling Stone.

As for her relationship with Patric, the pair were spotted jetting off to Ireland not long after they were originally spotted together. However, Patric has since firmly denied the speculations that they were on a romantic getaway on her would-be wedding day.

“All that stuff is made up,” he told Vulture in 2011. “They had a relationship that ended, and I was with her for a little while and it ended… I think they’re fine. But we never had any issue, even back then.”

Lyle Lovett

While it’s unknown when Patric and Roberts went their separate ways, the actress’ heart had found its way to another not long after.

In 1992, she featured in Robert Altman’s 1992 film The Player, alongside country music star Lyle Lovett. According to Roberts, however, the couple had already met through mutual friends.

“I had a very strong reaction to meeting him,” Roberts told Barbara Walters in 1993. “Different to the way I’ve ever reacted to any person on the planet… He’s perfect.”

A 25-year-old at the time, Roberts had previously been a fan of his music before they met and would apparently listen to the musician’s “tapes” in her car frequently.

Julia Roberts and Lyle Lovett
Lyle Lovett and Julia Roberts (Credit: Getty Images)

According to People, Roberts and Lovett began dating by June 1993, and merely three weeks later, decided to get hitched in a small Indiana town.

After she and Lovett had their nuptials, the couple shared details about their wedding while on the cover of People magazine.

In the article, they spoke about how they had a classic church wedding, which was planned only 72 hours before and had to be crammed between Robert’s film shooting schedule and Lovett’s tour dates. Roberts also told the publication that she chose to walk down the aisle barefoot in a white Commes des Garçons gown, reportedly purchased by Lovett, as well as a tulle scarf instead of a veil.

However, things weren’t smooth sailing for the pair after a while. In fact, the final year of Lovett and Roberts’ marriage became swamped in PR scandals. One moment saw the media go rampant after Roberts was spotted merely dancing with actor Ethan Hawke while at a business dinner.

“I danced. Is that a felony?” Roberts told a Rolling Stone reporter when asked to comment on the event.

And given their career paths, Roberts and Lovett were forced to spend extended amounts of time apart, as per People. Naturally, this didn’t go unnoticed by the media.

“We’ve never gone more than a week without seeing each other since we got married,” Lovett told People in 1993. “But before that we’d never spent more than seven days together.”

Sadly, after nearly two years together, the couple announced their separation in 1995 by sharing a joint statement that read, “We remain close and in great support of one another.”

Speaking to The New York Daily News in 1999, Roberts looked back on her previous marriage and clarified that she had no regrets, it was merely a “miscalculation”.

“Never a mistake. Too many great things came out of it. We have this great shared experience that never had any nasty moments. What we had doesn’t come close to the mistake category.”

Benjamin Bratt

But love wasn’t lost on Roberts, because only a few years later, she was destined to meet Miss Congeniality star Benjamin Bratt. 

In 1997, Roberts met Bratt in a fine dining restaurant in Manhattan, New York City. In a 1999 interview with Vanity Fair, Roberts described how she felt about their first-time encounter. 

“[Bratt] walked in, and I looked up at him, and it was like something hit me over the head with a bat,” she told the publication. From then on, Roberts and Bratt became famous for being frequently spotted at New York City hotspots like Le Madri, Cafeteria, and Cafe Lure.

With time, the constant spotlight on their relationship took its toll, but Bratt and Roberts were still able to balance their private and public love life. To do that, the pair would constantly treat their fans with frequent quotes where they fawned over each other.

“All that I have to say about Julia couldn’t possibly fit into one or two sentences,” Bratt told People. “She’s an incredible woman.”

“He’s very good-looking,” Roberts told People, “and his handsomeness pales in comparison to his kindness. That is all a girl could ask for, really.”

“We’re just ecstatically happy. We’re drunk with joy 24 hours out of the day. We’re sickening,” Roberts told Oprah Winfrey, as per People.

Julia Roberts and Benjamin Bratt
Julia Roberts and Benjamin Bratt (Credit: Getty Images)

However, as we know, Roberts and Bratt’s relationship come to a close in June 2001.

After almost four years together, the Law and Order actor’s publicist confirmed that he and Roberts were “no longer together”, People reported at the time.

In fact, whispers that the pair were headed toward a break-up circulated nearly a year before their actual split.

“At this point, they haven’t seen each other in months. It’s not necessarily over, but it’s certainly hit a crisis point,” a source close to the couple told New York Magazine, as per ABC News.

“We have decided to live our lives according to what the latest tabloid headline is,” Bratt told reporters in 2001, according to the LA Times.

Similar to her previous relationships, the constant media speculation about their relationship was what likely led to its demise.

“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. We try to keep it right.”

Danny Moder

After her split from Bratt, little did the world know that Roberts was about to find the love of her life—in what seemed to be yet another dramatic way.

In 2000, Roberts met cinematographer Danny Moder on the set of the film The Mexican and the two clearly hit it off immediately. But the time of their meeting, Moder was married to makeup artist Vera Steimberg, who he went on to divorce.

As you’d expect, this situation caused some speculation. But in 2003 Roberts told Oprah Magazine that she didn’t believe she was the cause of the Moder’s split from Steimberg.

“He sorted his whole thing out, separate and apart from me,” she said. “And I sorted my life out, separate and apart from him. I think that’s the only reason we were able to ultimately fall in love with each other and be together.”

When asked in the same interview if she felt responsible for Moder’s divorce, she replied, “I’m an easy person to point the finger at—‘she did it’—and I see that. I don’t begrudge people the easy finger-point. It just doesn’t happen to be so.”

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

Julia Roberts and husband Danny Moder
Danny Moder and Julia Roberts (Credit: Getty Images)

Not long after, the couple welcomed twins, Phinnaeus and Hazel, by November 2004 and had their third child, a son named Henry, in June 2007.

 “The thing is, we have these three human beings who are just a complete reflection of the affection we have for each other,” she told InStyle in 2017.

Appearing on Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop podcast in 2018, Roberts implied that none of her relationships had shaken her quite like her romance with Moder did.

“I think that first kind of real… ‘seismic shift’ was meeting Danny,” she told Paltrow. “Getting married to Danny. That was the first, like, my life will never be the same in the most incredible, indescribable way.”

“I felt I really had a sense of ownership of my destiny,” she said. “I’ve never said that before, to examine it like that. He truly is the best decision I ever made in my entire life was to hitch my wagon to Danny Moder.”

Most recently, the couple celebrated their 21st wedding anniversary. To mark the occasion, Roberts shared a sweet photo to Instagram, of the couple kissing alongside the caption, “21 #truelove #heckyeah #fromhereonout.” 

Julia Roberts and Danny Moder kissing
Julia Roberts shared this sweet picture on Instagram. (Credit: Instagram.)

There you have it, despite her tumultuous dating history and chaotic relationship drama, Roberts found her happily ever after (just like in the rom-coms she still stars in)

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