Julia Roberts On Fame, Family and Finding Happiness

“My happiest times are when all my kids are home. Lots of togetherness keeps me grounded and content.”
Julia Roberts X Marie Claire

Julia Roberts knows how to make a fashion statement. Who can forget the 1999 Notting Hill premiere when she threw her arms in the air and waved enthusiastically at the crowd, revealing – gasp – underarm hair? Or in 2016 at the Cannes Film Festival when she slipped off her heels to go barefoot up the forbidding flight of crimson-carpeted stairs lined with photographers and media?

At her recent appearance at the iconic film festival in 2022, Roberts wore a headline-stealing pear-shaped yellow diamond necklace, designed by Chopard co-president Caroline Scheufele and set in Fair mined certified ethical white and yellow gold. You could be forgiven for seeing these red-carpet choices as political statements about unrealistic beauty standards, sexist dress codes and the importance of ethical fashion.

Julia Roberts x Chopard
Roberts wears Chopard Haute Joaillerie earrings.
Photography: Greg Williams and Alasdair Mclellan for Chopard.

Here’s the real story… In the first instance, Roberts just hadn’t shaved. No big deal. Women have underarm hair, it’s entirely natural, get over it. What about the bare feet? Roberts insists she just didn’t want to trip going up the stairs. Understandable. As for the priceless yellow diamond, well, that fashion choice needs no explanation. “You can tell a lot about a person by their jewellery. It’s a fun way to show your spirit and your sense of style,” Roberts tells marie claire. “The pear-shaped yellow diamond necklace I wore at Cannes [was] breathtaking!”

It’s not hard to see why Roberts chose to wear the 100-carat diamond – given the opportunity, who wouldn’t? But the atelier’s dedication to ethical luxury also played a part in her decision. “In this moment in time, it is critical to support and be part of things that look towards the future,” she explains. “The Scheufele family [owners of Chopard] are devoted to being innovative and responsible. With their 100 per cent ethical gold production and Lucent Steel manufacturing, they are examples that you can have pride in luxury pieces, creations that will last a lifetime.”

Julia Roberts x Chopard
Roberts wears Chopard Happy Hearts ring and Happy Sport watch.
Photography: Greg Williams and Alasdair Mclellan for Chopard.

Whether she intends to or not, Roberts makes a statement with the looks she wears. It’s a hazard of the job. For more than 35 years – since her breakout roles in the films Mystic Pizza, Satisfaction and Steel Magnolias – the actor has been a household name, a style icon and a muse to many. She is America’s sweetheart. There’s something intrinsically familiar about her. She’s the kind of star we’re used to seeing on the cover of glossy magazines at the supermarket checkout but also the kind of person you feel like you could have a chat to in line at that same supermarket.

It seems like we’ve grown up with Roberts because we have. In the ’90s, her roll call of romantic comedies – Pretty Woman, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Runaway Bride and Notting Hill – were compulsory viewing for an entire generation. After the turn of the millennium, she upped the ante with blockbusters such as Erin Brockovich, Ocean’s Eleven and Twelve and Eat Pray Love. Then, last year, Roberts took a thrilling turn in the thought-provoking mystery Leave the World Behind, which was executive produced by former US president Barack Obama and wife Michelle.

Julia Roberts x Chopard
Roberts wears Chopard Ice Cube earrings, Ice Cube ring, Alpine Eagle watch, and Ice Cube bracelets.
Photography: Greg Williams and Alasdair Mclellan for Chopard.

It’s an almighty understatement to say Roberts is a staple of our screens. She is one of the biggest movie stars of all time, with her films grossing more than $US3.9 billion. When you close your eyes and picture a movie star, it’s her smile you see. For three decades, she’s made us laugh, cry and (most recently) squeeze our fingernails into our palms with fear and tension. It’s the first reaction that brings her the most joy, though. “I love to make people laugh, always have. I guess that is where my love of performing started,” she says, reflecting on being raised in a family of actors.

Roberts’ parents, Betty Lou and Walter, met on the set of a theatrical production for the US Armed Forces. They went on to co-found the Atlanta Actors and Writers Workshop and ran a children’s acting school when Betty Lou fell pregnant with Julia in 1967.

Julia Roberts x Chopard
Roberts holds up the Chopard Happy Spirit pendant.
Photography: Greg Williams and Alasdair Mclellan for Chopard.

Acting is in Roberts’ blood – both her brother, Eric, and sister Lisa are actors – but as a child she dreamed of becoming a vet. It wasn’t until she moved to New York in the 1980s that she dipped her toes into the acting pool. She’s been knee deep ever since. At 56, Roberts credits her success to trusting her gut. “I have always been deeply led by my gut instinct,” she says. “It has never steered me wrong.”

But that’s where the reflection ends. “[With stardom] I try not to examine things of that nature, and just be grateful.” She admits that she is especially grateful for the freedom acting gave her when her kids – twins Phinnaeus and Hazel, now 19, and son Henry, 16 – were young. “I was able to take time in my family life without hesitation. It was a real blessing … and a luxury I know not all moms get.”

Pick up a copy of the March issue of marie claire Australia on sale Thursday 15th March to read the full story!

julia roberts x marie claire
Julia Roberts on the March issue of marie claire Australia.

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