Julia Roberts Breaks Silence on Death of Half-Sister Nancy Motes, Talks Fame and Celebrity, Family Life and More

April 22, 2014

Julia Roberts opened up for the first time about the death of her half-sister, Nancy Motes in a cover story interview with WSJ magazine. She also shared her thoughts on her family, fame and how the culture of celebrity has changed over the years since her first rise to notoriety in the 1990s and much more.

The 46-year-old Oscar-winning actress will soon be seen in HBO’s screen adaptation of Larry Kramer’s iconic play ‘The Normal Heart’ which chronicles the HIV/AIDS epidemic in New York City in the gay male community and that was the occasion of the interview with The Wall Street Journal magazine.

It was also quite soon after the tragic death by suicide of her half-sister Nancy Motes. She made her first public comments in the interview, telling the publication, “It’s just heartbreak. It’s only been 20 days. There aren’t words to explain what any of us have been through in these last 20 days. It’s hour by hour some days, but you just keep looking ahead.”

Julia Roberts went on to say, “You don’t want anything bad to happen to anyone, but there are so many tragic, painful, inexplicable things in the world. But [as with] any situation of challenge and despair, we must find a way, as a family.”

She also shared her thoughts about fame, saying, “I think there is a dehumanization that goes with fame, especially in the present culture of it, which isn’t the culture I started off in. There wasn’t this analysis of every iota of every moment of every day.”

She continued to reflect, saying, “Nobody cared about what you wore, nobody cared what haircut you had, if you had on makeup or didn’t. It’s become this sort of sport.”

She made it clear she wants no part of this “sport.” She said, “I don’t consider myself a celebrity, [at least not] how it is fostered in our culture today. I don’t know if I’m old and slow, but there seems to be a frenzy to it.”

Yes, in the age of the instant judgement of Twitter and other social media, fame has its negative consequences as much as its perks. What happened to Kim Novak at the Oscars is a prime example. A screen legend takes to the stage and is torn to shreds over her physical appearance, and only weeks later speaks out about the bullying and its impact upon her. So yes, Julia Roberts is stating plainly what we all know.

Julia Roberts also spoke about her family life. She has had a private and quiet life for many years with her husband, cinematographer, Danny Moder. She said, “We’re just grateful for the sense we have of being like any other family down the street. I don’t question it, frankly.”

She added, “By the time we had kids, I had accomplished things and felt secure about that part of my life. I was so joyful moving into the family phase of my life in a sincere way.”

And the accomplishments continue. The role she takes on in the upcoming ‘The Normal Heart’ sees her portraying a physician who was actively involved in the HIV and AIDS crisis of the 1980s, Dr. Emma Brookner, who, as a polio survivor left paralyzed and using a wheelchair has had her own challenges. It’s the kind of role that Julia Roberts shines in, as a charismatic crusader; we need only remember her Oscar-winning portrayal of the title character of ‘Erin Brockovich.’

See the full interview plus the cover and photos here.

Pictures: PR Photos

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