Monday 10 December 2018

The resurgence of Julia Roberts: a timeless style icon with just the right amount of 'real'

Julia Roberts attends the premiere of Amazon Studios' 'Homecoming' at Regency Bruin Theatre on October 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)
Julia Roberts attends the premiere of Amazon Studios' 'Homecoming' at Regency Bruin Theatre on October 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)
US actress Julia Roberts attends the Los Angeles premiere of Amazon's "Homecoming" in Westwood, California, on October 24, 2018. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP)
US actress Julia Roberts attends the Los Angeles premiere of Amazon's "Homecoming" in Westwood, California, on October 24, 2018. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP)
Julia Roberts attends the premiere of Amazon Studios' "Homecoming" at Regency Bruin Theatre on October 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)
Julia Roberts attends the premiere of Amazon Studios' 'Homecoming' at Regency Bruin Theatre on October 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)
US actress Julia Roberts (R) and Irish actress Caitriona Balfe pose on May 12, 2016 before leaving the Festival Palace after the screening of the film "Money Monster" at the 69th Cannes Film Festival
Julia Roberts stars in Erin Brockovich. (Photo by Universal/Liaison)
Best Actress Julia Roberts poses with her Oscar during the 73rd Annual Academy Awards March 25, 2001 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
Actress Julia Roberts attends the Oscars held at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 25: Actress Julia Roberts attends the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on August 25, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
Julia Roberts visits "The Late Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" at Rockefeller Center on July 31, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/NBC/Getty Images for "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon")
Cast member Julia Roberts arrives for the premiere of the movie, 'America's Sweethearts' at the Westwood Mann Bruin, Los Angeles, CA., Tuesday, July 17, 2001. (photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Actress Julia Roberts attends the "Eat, Pray, Love" UK premiere at the Empire Leicester Square on September 22, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Actress Julia Roberts, wearing Van Cleef & Arpels, receives the Donosti Lifetime Achievement Award during the 58th San Sebastian International Film Festival at the Kursaal Palace on September 20, 2010 in San Sebastian, Spain. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)
Actress Julia Roberts attends "Come, Reza, Ama" (Eat, Pray, Love) photocall during the 58th San Sebastian International Film Festival on September 20, 2010 in San Sebastian, Spain. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)
Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman
Cast members Julia Roberts, George Clooney and his wife Amal Alamuddin pose on the red carpet
Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in Pretty Woman
Julia Roberts attends the premiere of Amazon Studios' 'Homecoming' at Regency Bruin Theatre on October 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

Some things don’t need a comeback: most of these examples are American sitcoms, but the sentiment remains the same.

Revered gems from the past, whether near or distant, should remain exactly there; but sometimes, on rare occasion, something will return so slowly, yet so ferociously, you never knew how much you missed them.

I am, of course, referring to Julia Roberts. Granted, this Oscar winning actress hasn’t exactly disappeared - she wasn't cancelled like Charmed - but she has over the years, very discreetly and slowly, withdrawn from Hollywood, choosing to spend more time with her family in Malibu and New Mexico, and less time on the big screen.

But Roberts is officially back, at least for now and for as long as she wants to be, for her new tv project Homecoming, an Amazon Prime Video series, receiving rave reviews for its story and its lead - which, not to mention, is her first time committing to a television series. So consuming was the role and subsequent schedule that she described it as not being "for the faint of heart". If Julia friggin' Roberts says it's a tough gig, it's a tough gig.

Best Actress Julia Roberts poses with her Oscar during the 73rd Annual Academy Awards March 25, 2001 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
Best Actress Julia Roberts poses with her Oscar during the 73rd Annual Academy Awards March 25, 2001 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

Why is she so missed though? Not only does Julia personify the movie stars of yesterday (aka the 90s), she also represents something that producers have only copped on to in the last 12 months - women can sell movies. They buy tickets and want to be fairly represented on screen. While it seems more likely now that a superhero movie is the only guaranteed blockbuster, not that long ago, a Roberts-led flick was a guaranteed smash.

She was one of the most famous women in the world and all the while seemed nearly-impossibly charming while doing it.

Julia is the type who has always handled this aspect of celebrity with grace. There are no tantrums about paparazzi, even when the small town of Taos, New Mexico, where her 2002 wedding to Danny Modern was held, was overrun with photographers; no complaints about her privacy. She took appropriate security measures, kept the pictures to herself and that was that. It comes with the job.

She is also the narrator of her own personal storyline, with enough twists and turns to captivate the public while still retaining her 'America's Sweetheart' title. At 23, she bravely called off her wedding to ex-fiancé Kiefer Sutherland, famously fleeing to Ireland to hide from the fracas. Kiefer said in 2016 that it was the best thing that ever happened to both of them.

She bounced back despite the unwavering drama. Similarly, when she met husband Danny on the set of 2001's The Mexican, where he was working as a cameraman, it was rumoured that he was married at the time and she "stole" him away, a scandal she once again weathered with her head held high, never commenting a confirmation or denial on the matter.

They now have three children together: Hazel and Phinnaeus (both 13) and Henry (11). The Roberts/Moders spend most of their days in their Malibu mansion, where Julia fits in movie-starring between mothering, at her choice.

The 'Pretty Woman' star Julia Roberts and the '24' actor Kiefer Sutherland were due to walk down the aisle in 1991 when she called off the wedding just days before it was meant to happen. Kiefer later said:
The 'Pretty Woman' star Julia Roberts and the '24' actor Kiefer Sutherland were due to walk down the aisle in 1991 when she called off the wedding just days before it was meant to happen. Kiefer later said: "There was a huge connection between us but it was more like friends than the passionate relationship that she or I would have wanted. She saw that; I did not.

The work has always been aplenty for Roberts and her decision to step back has been a conscious and choreographed one as she chose to have a normal life as any A-list actress can have. She has, and will always remain, one of the most powerful women in Hollywood and with that sort of influence comes a lot of perks.

There remains something steadfastly likeable about her, she is the summation of a s rising star who earned her status over decades of hard work and is arguably, one of the last great movie stars of our generation, potentially ever. A bold statement I know, but movie stars as we know them just aren't what they were 20 years ago.

"I don’t think I am special. I’ve always been fortunate that I have always found the work I am looking for," she said on Thursday night, as she is back in the swing of select quick-interviews to promote her first big role on the small screen.

And her return to the news cycle was made in spectacular fashion, specifically, on the cover of Harper's Bazaar in a dramatic pink Dior tulle gown, climbing on the side of a mountain and and sporting her signature, scene-stealing smile, with the cover line noting that her interview was being coordinated by Oprah.

Her levels of fame are unfathomable to most, yet she remains famously down-to-earth, ambitious and full of appreciation for her family and her fortune.

“That’s what getting older is about - it’s about turning even more into the person your loved ones know you to be,” she told Harper’s Bazaar in this month’s issue.

Actress Julia Roberts attends the
Actress Julia Roberts attends the "Eat, Pray, Love" UK premiere at the Empire Leicester Square on September 22, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

She is also enjoying  the self-assuredness that comes with age, which, by the way, she is not game for talking about until men’s ages are dissected with the same scrutiny. “Really, people?” she told In Style last year before her milestone birthday. “Are we still in that space? Did anyone go over this with George Clooney or Brad [Pitt] before their 50th birthdays?”

“I always love my birthday. [I celebrate] with open arms and gratitude…There’s nothing different about this birthday than any other one.”

There are few things I love seeing more than a woman with some healthy wrinkles. Roberts is ageing like a fine wine, and seems frozen in time without looking - well, actually frozen. Her facial features are awash with a few lines, in stark contrast to the

Frankly, there has been no better time in Hollywood for the resurgence of Julia Roberts, the star we never knew we needed.

Online Editors

Style Newsletter

Stay on top of the latest fashion, beauty and celeb gossip in our Style newsletter.

Also in this section