Julia Roberts Grew up in an Abusive Atmosphere Where She Feared and Despised Her Stepfather

Julia Roberts might have shown the world her stunning beauty, impeccable smile, unique acting talent, and charming personality but this ageless on-screen goddess once lived in an abusive atmosphere where she exhibited fear and hate.

Julia Roberts is an indisputable actress who began acting at a tender age. Her knack for acting caused her to improve her skills, making her more relevant in the film industry.

This powerhouse has gained tons of fans and has the admiration of her colleagues as well as due recognition from the film industry — she starred alongside the best talents and has obtained some incredible awards.

Picture of actress Julia Roberts on The Ellen Show | Photo: youtube.com/TheEllenShow

Julia may seem like the woman who has it all, a thriving acting career that has refused to go extinct because of its fantastic nature, a happy family with her husband, Danny Moder, and their three kids, Hazel, Henry, and Phinnaeus, but she once faced a hard time in her family home.


Julia’s parents divorced when she was young, and she was left in the care of her mother and stepfather between ages five to sixteen.

She grew up in terror, despising the man her mother loved owing to his behavior. Her brother, Eric Roberts, a distinguished actor, described their stepfather as a “freak,” who abused and terrorized the kids kept under his care.

Julia Roberts at the "August: Osage County" premiere at Ziegfeld Theater on December 12, 2013 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images

Julia Roberts at the “August: Osage County” premiere at Ziegfeld Theater on December 12, 2013 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images

Eric, who moved out from the family’s home in Smyrna, Georgia, shortly after his mom’s second marriage, revealed that he was hurt by constantly thinking of the terrors his sisters, Julia and Lisa, would be facing at home.

A source revealed that Betty’s second husband was an alcoholic who displayed his rage towards his wife and her kids in nasty arguments. He even destroyed properties to prove a point — he once smashed Julia’s walkman against the wall.

Julia was so intimidated by her stepfather’s appalling behavior that she stayed with her friends to escape the terror and attacks at home.

She hardly talks about her time in the house, except that she feared and despised the man who bullied and abused her. This revelation was in her 2004 biography authored by James Spada.

When confronted with the claims, Julia explained that out of respect for her mother and stepsister, Lisa, she has refrained from talking about her abusive stepparent.


Julia’s mother, Betty, divorced her dad, Walter Grady Roberts, who later died of throat cancer at age 44. Less than one year after her first marriage ended, Betty found love with a man who was eleven years her junior, Motes, an antique dealer.

Betty was sad about her union with Motes, and even though it lasted for eleven years, the woman confessed that it was the biggest mistake of her life.


Motes has since abandoned the Roberts and is living a private life. He resides not too far from what used to be home to him and the Roberts. He declared his sexuality as gay and lives with his male partner, Timothy Raasch.

Over the years, these allegations of abusive parenting by the Roberts kids have not been denied by Motes, who has maintained silence on the issue.

However, the former antique dealer informed an interviewer that he would write a book to reveal the truth from his perspective. While Motes intends to clear his name in the future, he is involved with his local church and acts as a volunteer.


Nancy Motes was the only child from Betty’s marriage to Motes. Sadly, she was found dead inside a bathtub, at age 37, from a drug overdose in 2014, This news shook the Roberts siblings. Julia confessed that they were in pain over the tragedy, it must forge ahead like a family.

Her unrelenting and optimistic nature has been a binding force in the family, and she loves and adores her older siblings. Eric was crushed and recounted how he struggled with drug abuse, but thankfully, he became sober after getting the help he needed.


Eric Roberts is the firstborn of his parents and an accomplished actor who fought through his drug abuse problem. He shares a daughter, Emma Roberts with his first wife, Kelly Cunningham, and is currently married to Eliza Roberts.

His sister, Lisa, is an actress and has featured in films like “I Love Trouble,” “Sex and the City,” and has worked as an executive producer on some of her sister’s works — “Extraordinary Moms,” and “Jesus Henry Christ.” She is also married and living happily with her husband of many years, Tony Gillan.

Despite their harsh past, the Roberts made meaning out of their lives and have gone on to inspire others through their impeccable talents, and works on screen, establishing a long-lasting legacy.

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Julia Roberts Grew up in an Abusive Atmosphere Where She Feared and Despised Her Stepfather