Strange Things About Julia Roberts' Marriage

Julia Roberts became known as America's Sweetheart after starring in a string of blockbuster hits, including "Pretty Woman" and "Erin Brockovich." As one of Tinseltown's most beautiful bachelorettes, she had her pick of leading men to choose from: In addition to romances with Benjamin Bratt, Liam Neeson, and Dylan McDermott, there was also her seemingly scandalous broken engagement to Kiefer Sutherland, which came to an end three days before their wedding date in 1991 (and concluded with Roberts jetting off to Ireland with Sutherland's good friend, Jason Patric). For the record, it's important to note that Sutherland holds no ill will toward his ex. In fact, while speaking with People (via the Daily Mail) in 2016, he said the decision "took a lot of courage" on Roberts' part, noting, "I think she was being realistic for herself. I think that's much better." Who doesn't love amicable exes?

Needless to say, after her first marriage to country singer Lyle Lovett ended in 1995, the world waited patiently to see which high-profile star Roberts would date next, though she didn't have her sights set on a big-time Hollywood celeb. Instead, Roberts found love on the set of the 2001 film "The Mexican" with cinematographer Danny Moder — but their relationship seemed somewhat offbeat long before their wedding in July 2002. 

From rumors that they live in separate homes to Julia Roberts describing falling in love with him as a "horrible" feeling, here are the strange things we just can't ignore about this superstar's marriage.  

Julia Roberts believes she was 'born to be his wife'

Although acting is her main occupation, Julia Roberts doesn't necessarily believe she was destined to star in movies on the big screen. Instead, she once expressed that her purpose in life was to become Mrs. Moder. "I was born to love and to be the wife of this man," she told ABC News shortly after they got hitched, while fully acknowledging that not everyone would ooh and aah over that statement, particularly considering the controversy surrounding their early relationship: Roberts' four-year relationship with Benjamin Bratt ended right before she met Danny Moder, who was still married to makeup artist Vera Steimberg Moder at the time. 

Allegations of being the so-called "other woman" or a "homewrecker" unfortunately abounded as Roberts' whirlwind romance with Danny took off, with some — particularly his ex-wife — believing that their love story was no rom-com. "I'll never be able to forgive Julia — she's a husband stealer," Vera alleged to Britain's Sun (via the New York Post), further claiming that the star would "be looking for a new husband within a year."

For her part, Roberts didn't expect others to understand, explaining to ABC News, "People don't know anything. People assume. People decide. It is not for me to ask anybody to assume or decide or feel differently." Fair enough. And while some might feel that defining one's entire identity according to their husband seems a bit strange, we think that "Born to Be Your Wife" sounds like a great title for Roberts' next flick. Hollywood, let's make it happen!

She bought him a multi-million-dollar 'surf shack'

When you have an endless amount of cash at your disposal, dropping a few million dollars on another piece of property is no big deal. Just ask Julia Roberts, who is the proud owner of multiple parcels, including a beachfront home in Malibu and an estate in Taos, New Mexico, where she became Mrs. Moder on the Fourth of July in 2002.

According to InTouch, Roberts went on the hunt for a new home to add to her real estate portfolio in 2016, and she didn't have to look very far. She reportedly plopped down $3.9 million for a Malibu ranch just down the road from her family's main abode. So why would she need two houses so close together in the same ritzy neighborhood? InTouch claimed Danny Moder, an avid surfer, was spending too much time chasing waves around the globe and too little time with his wife and three kids. Roberts reportedly purchased the second pad so her hubby could hang ten at a private surf spot called Little Dume. 

"She's hoping that the purchase of the most expensive surf shack in Malibu will help her marriage by keeping Danny from going away on extended surf trips," a source claimed to the tab. "Julia is hoping that by giving Danny his own incredible surf spot, it will stave of any talk of divorce." It sounds like it was worth every penny.

Do they live in seperate homes?

There have been a lot of rumors over the years about Julia Roberts hiding marriage troubles. You don't need to be Erin Brockovich to figure out that they're mostly hogwash — but some sources still claim that Danny Moder is a runaway husband. It all boils down to where the couple supposedly spends their time.

In 2017, InTouch ran a salacious article alleging that Roberts purchased a $6.84 million guest home that mainly served as a "refuge" for her husband "when the two were fighting." Express followed this up with a report about a "US magazine" that alleged Moder was straight-up living "across the street" and Roberts "barely spends any time" with him.

Four years later, and the couple showed no signs of divorce — but tabloids were still claiming they lived in separate homes. A source told OK! that Roberts and Moder were reportedly "secretly living apart" and they were merely "keeping up appearances" with their more recent Instagram PDA. Apparently, their marriage is filled with conflict because "Danny's very laid-back," "Julia's a total type-A," and both "have enormous egos." Just like the couple's solid marriage, recycled tabloid rumors are apparently 'til death do them part.

Did Julia Roberts force him to be a full-time dad?

In terms of who brings home the bacon, Julia Roberts is definitely the breadwinner in this relationship, with an estimated net worth of $250 million, as of this writing. Danny Moder is a successful cinematographer and multi-millionaire in his own right, as previously stated — but rumor has it, she'd rather he focus on being a stay-at-home parent. 

According to Express, Roberts wants to be the "sole breadwinner" in their family, but Moder may not feel the same. "They are having a crisis because she wants him as a full-time dad," a source told the tab. "He has always been hell-bent on pulling his own weight but Julia feels they are financially set." An insider further claimed, "Danny does not feel like they have a true partnership. It is her way or the highway. There has never been more strain on their marriage than there is now."

Of course, this is all mere speculation, and it's worth noting that these rumors don't exactly jive with the way Roberts envisioned married life while talking to ABC News years ago. "I guess if I were to cast a wish, I would wish that we, that we as a pair, as a team, as a couple, as partners on this planet would wake up every day with a fair amount of joy and just a little bit of giddiness and go to sleep with a sense of having been understood," she said in 2002.

She said falling in love with him was 'horrible'

Some people describe falling in love as a feeling equivalent to a gazillion butterflies simultaneously dabbing and doing the Macarena inside their tummies, but for Julia Roberts, it apparently wasn't all that pleasant.

When Oprah Winfrey asked the "Notting Hill" star what it felt like to fall in love, Roberts responded, "It was horrible." Say what? "You don't want to lose your friend," Roberts explained. "Or what if he doesn't love you? You start playing out all these crazy scenarios." That actually makes a lot of sense, especially considering how she went on to describe playing a constant game of cat and mouse with Danny Moder. They would talk on the phone, and Roberts would play it cool by saying: "I'd love to chat, but, you know, I'm just out the door." But soon enough, it seems they both played it straight, those terrible feelings faded away, and the duo eventually embarked on a happy marriage together.

"He truly, to this day, to this minute is just my favorite human," Roberts gushed about her man on pal Gwyneth Paltrow's podcast in 2018 (via Us Weekly). "... We just really, really like each other, and we just enjoy each other's company."

They rarely attend events together

While most celebrity couples walk the red carpet together, Julia Roberts usually flies solo at major events. According to the Daily Mail, Danny Moder even skipped Roberts' mother's funeral in 2015. Betty Lou Bredemus died of lung cancer complications, and the actor reportedly held an invite-only gathering at Bredemus' grave site in Georgia — sans her hubby (though it's entirely possible he simply stayed home with their youngest kiddo, who also wasn't in attendance).

Why is he so rarely her plus-one? Is he catching a wave? Watching the kids? The notoriously private couple has not directly addressed the issue. According to E! News, when they made a rare appearance together at Oprah Winfrey's Wisdom of Sundays Gospel Brunch in 2017, Roberts reportedly told attendees that it meant a lot "to have my beloved husband here who is really the man that taught me what it means to give, and who inspires me each day to manifest my own creative destiny. And I really, deeply appreciate that."

So what's stopping them from manifesting more joint appearances? We may never know, but to each their own.

All about their 'brave' or 'idiotic' tattoos

Plenty of lovers commemorate their affection by inking up their bods, and for their part, Julia Roberts and Danny Moder tattooed one another's initials on their bodies before they wed in 2002. While this factoid in and off itself isn't all that strange, Roberts later admitted on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" that getting these tats at the time was a risky decision.

"We were brave or idiotic because it was before we got married," she said during her 2014 appearance. Roberts also revealed she had multiple other tattoos, including her children's names, Phinneus, Hazel, and Henry. How sweet is that? That said, she wouldn't discuss locations on camera, telling the comedian, "Some things I can tell you the answer to, and some things I'll tell you later."

Considering the amount of press her personal life gets, we can't exactly blame the A-lister for wanting to keep some things private. But for that exact same reason, the secret was revealed a mere six years later, when Roberts and her family were spotted on a beach vacation in Mexico. For those wondering, per the Daily Mail, her kiddos' monikers are tattooed on her lower back, surrounding Moder's initials.

Danny Moder 'fixes' his wife's 'problems'

While talking to Oprah Winfrey in 2003, Julia Roberts gushed that she was "happier now than ever" and that "a huge part of it" pertains to her marriage ... and her husband's college major. 

"Danny is such a great listener and a great communicator," she said. "He majored in psychology in college, and I remember saying to my sister one time that he can basically fix all my problems. Perfect!" Yes, as Hollywood Life reports, the Los Angeles native graduated with his degree back in the early '90s at the University of Colorado Boulder, before head back west and following in his producer father's steps into showbiz. 

For her part, Roberts reportedly wanted to study veterinary medicine at one point in her life. But we think it's probably safe to say that, considering the great levels of success they've achieved in their respective fields, Roberts and her man both made the right career decisions.

Even guests weren't in on their secret marriage

Julia Roberts had every opportunity to pull a runaway bride at her own wedding — but mostly because nobody even knew a wedding was happening. There are secret celebrity weddings (like when Cardi B waited to tell fans that she tied the knot with Offset) and then there are secret celebrity weddings. Roberts and Danny Moder belong to the latter category. They didn't even tell their own wedding guests that a wedding was taking place back in 2002.

According to Hello!, Moder and Roberts tied the knot at the "Pretty Woman" actor's Taos, New Mexico ranch. For the intimate affair, they apparently told their guest-list of 60 friends and family that they were throwing a party for the Fourth of July. Instead of the fireworks, guests got to watch Roberts walk down the aisle in a pink cotton halter top dress. People reports (via Hello!) that Moder's outfit was similarly low-key: He wore "a red ruffled shirt and tan pants."

It's clear this couple cares less about shiny things and more about their actual marriage. To top it all off, Roberts' engagement ring reportedly only cost $4,000. Now, that's not a small chunk of change, but it's definitely not three months of salary for a cinematographer who's worth $10 million in his own right.

Apparently, Julia Roberts really can have it all

As the old saying goes, it's not easy — if even possible — for most women to have it all. Family and career are a delicate balance that are often tipped to one side, but not if you're Julia Roberts. Perhaps the strangest thing about Roberts' marriage happens to be the way she effortlessly prioritizes her family without ever sacrificing her behemoth career. Her success even enabled her to shift her perspective. 

"By the time we had kids, I had accomplished things and felt secure about that part of my life," she told The Wall Street Journal in 2014 (via Oh No They Didn't!). "I was so joyful moving into the family phase of my life in a sincere way." Roberts is still racking up award nominations (see: her Golden Globe nod for "Homecoming" in 2019) while juggling three teenage children and a husband of nearly 20 years — and her ability to maintain such a normal life has garnered praise from her colleagues.

"That's what Julia has been best at, maintaining their real life," late director Mike Nichols told The Wall Street Journal (via Oh No They Didn't!). "It's the little things that tell the tale. When you visit them, there is nobody working at their house, sweeping their hall. There are toys all over, and it's just Julia and Danny and the kids. She always slips away from the center."