Julia Roberts: The Class Act
She is a Woman of the Year because: “There are not a lot of people who can do everything she does, and be brilliant, and be gorgeous, and raise all those children. Formidable, my dear. Bravo.”
—Joanne Woodward, actress
November 1, 2010
by Susan Dominus
You have to admire that Julia Roberts arrives at an interview in the kind of standard-issue black pants that mothers rely on when they want to look presentable. Wearing the barest hint of makeup, she’s soon chatting about the challenge of running a house with three kids—six-year-old twins Hazel and Phinnaeus, and three-year-old Henry. “Trust me,” she confides, “some weeks are cleaner than other weeks.”
Not that she’s had much time lately to worry about the housecleaning. Her 2010 has been huge. She’s graced countless magazine covers and TV shows on behalf of her blockbuster Eat, Pray, Love; she produced a documentary on the power of motherhood that will air on Oprah’s OWN network in January; and she filmed her next sure-to-be hit, Larry Crowne, with pal Tom Hanks.
Despite her successes, though, Roberts says, “It’s all about the home.” Turns out one of the world’s biggest female movie stars (collective box office: more than $2 billion) is an eco-sensitive earth mother who composts and drives a tractor at her New Mexico ranch. At 43, the Oscar winner chooses roles that allow her to spend quality time with her family—proof, as she’s said, that “becoming famous doesn’t make you crazy.” Once called the Hillary of Hollywood for her trailblazing—she was the first actress to get more than $20 million for a film—Roberts has used that money and clout for good. Since 1997 she’s supported Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang camp for children with grave illnesses. She also campaigns to fund research for Rett Syndrome (a neurodevelopmental disorder that can destroy kids’ ability to walk and speak) and serves on the board of Earth Biofuels, which promotes renewable energy.
But it’s Roberts’ unique, lit-from-within quality that’s made her everyone’s favorite screen icon. In the words of Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert, “The only other job she could have would be professional fairy.” Well, she did once play Tinkerbell.