Julia Roberts, a veteran actress, arguably made her last name famous. Since her initial rise to fame in the 1980s and 1990s, she has dominated the big screen. She starred in cult classics like Pretty Woman with Richard Gere, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Notting Hill, Runaway Bride, and many more.
Pretty Woman was Robert’s breakthrough role. She’s still known for it to this day. She played a prostitute on the streets who was picked up by Richard Gere. She was housed in a luxurious hotel and hired by Gere to accompany him to his business events. In their limited time together, they fall in love but are bound to be separated because of the status quo. But they ultimately end up together in a modern Cinderella ending.
Aside from her role in Pretty Woman, Roberts is also iconic for her role in Notting Hill with British actor Hugh Grant. It was another romantic comedy that defined a generation and is still legendary today.
Her career in Hollywood has been grand. However, she is not the only Roberts in the industry. Unbeknownst to many, her older brother Eric Roberts is also an actor who has done over 700 projects. Emma Roberts, Julia’s niece, has also joined showbusiness and is more popular with the younger generation.
With Julia and her family in the industry, the Roberts name was forever associated with them. So it came as a shock to Julia that she was, in fact, not a Roberts. In a recent episode of a show on PBS, an ancestry expert helped Julia trace back her lineage through her DNA and records of her ancestors.
The Pretty Woman star discovered on the episode that her great-grandfather John Roberts, who she inherited the name, was probably not a Roberts at all! Based on city records of the past, John Roberts’ mother, Rhoda Suttle, married Willis Roberts in the 1850s. However, Willis passed away in 1964, but John was to be born about a decade after. The timelines show that John was not Willis’ son, so he was not a Roberts.
Julia was taken aback when she discovered her true ancestry. The genealogy expert added that they had traced Julia’s real ancestor to have the last name Mitchell, not Roberts. And, according to more records, he was married when he had an affair with Rhoda Suttle, after which John Roberts was born.
Learning about your roots is astonishing, and it shows in Julia’s reaction to the facts. “So we’re Mitchell’s?” Julia asked the expert, who confirmed, “You’re Julia Mitchell.”
Julia said she still preferred the name, Roberts. “It is fascinating and, on the other hand, there’s, you know, part of me that, you know, that when I’m calmer, you know, can still wrap my arms around the idea that my family is my family.”
Whatever her name may be, nobody can deny her incredible acting chops, and knowing her sibling and niece have the same talents too, acting seems to run in their blood, no matter the last name.