Photo Credit: KMazur/WireImage; Lester Cohen/WireImage
For Julia Roberts, onscreen romance and real-life love are uniquely intertwined. Her mega-hit Pretty Woman was a Cinderella story about an unlikely couple; her first marriage (to Lyle Lovett) was a real-life fairy tale about an unlikely couple. Her relationship with Kiefer Sutherland ended when she ditched him at the altar; a few years later, she played the title role in Runaway Bride. So maybe it's fitting that she finally found happiness with someone who bridges her on- and off-screen worlds: cameraman Danny Moder. Here's a look at some of Julia's most memorable romances.
Dylan McDermott (Dated 1988-1990; Engaged)
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Relationship highlight: On the set of her breakout film Steel Magnolias, Roberts, 21, began dating co-star Dylan McDermott, 27. The actor later claimed that during shooting, the two of them had a spooky encounter. "I was in a car with my then-agent and Julia Roberts and we saw a ghost... it was sort of vaporous. It was kind of in the ether," he told Contactmusic in 2011. "There was, like, a five-second pause. And then we were like, 'Did anyone see that?'"
How it ended: The actors became engaged, but split shortly after Pretty Woman made Roberts a mega-star. "Any ending is not the most pleasant of things. We had our time together and it ended," McDermott told Moveline, though he denied the rumor that he bought her a basset hound as a break-up gift. "We already had a dog," he explained, "and she got the dog."
Kiefer Sutherland (Began dating spring 1990; Engaged winter 1990; Broke up June 18, 1991 )
Relationship highlight: One of several Roberts relationships that began on set, Kiefer and Julia's romance blossomed while they were filming the 1990 thriller Flatliners. "We're together all the time,'' she told USA Today in 1991. ''We work together; we're in love with each other. That's a life. You can't ask for more.''
How it ended: Three days before their scheduled wedding on the 20th Century Fox soundstage, Roberts called off the engagement, hopped on a plane to Ireland -- and took up with Kiefer's pal Jason Patric. Despite the ensuing scandal, Roberts has no regrets. "I wasn't ready to get married and I don't think Kiefer was either," Roberts told journalist Dougie Thompson in 1997. "The hardest part was telling Kiefer. It was heartbreaking but it's best to face up to the truth before the actual marriage than to wait until it's too late and you've made a mistake."
Kiefer later admitted she was right, saying in 2007, "I commend Julia for seeing how young and silly we were, even as painful and difficult as it was."
Jason Patric (Dated 1991-1992)
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Relationship highlight: Roberts didn't plan to leave fiance Kiefer Sutherland for his friend Jason Patric; that's just how it happened. According to People, after Julia broke off the engagement, she headed to Tuscan for a spa weekend with some female friends. Patric (a little-known actor at the time) happened to be on the plane, and within days, the two of them were vacationing in Ireland together.
How it ended: Julia is said to have broken things off "abruptly" in 1992, amid rumors that she was hooking up with actor Daniel Day-Lewis. In 2011, Patric told Vulture that everything the press reported about the relationship (and the supposed Kiefer love triangle) was wrong. "All that stuff is made up, if you even go back there to all the archives you’re never gonna see any comment by me," said the actor. "[Kiefer and Julia] had a relationship that ended and I was with her for a little while and it ended. They've both been subsequently married several times and I think they're fine."
Lyle Lovett (Began dating May 1993; Married June 27, 1993; Separated March 22, 1995; Divorced 1995)
Relationship highlight: One of the most delightfully mismatched celebrity pairs ever, Julia and her first husband had known one another for less than a month when they decided to tie the knot. The wedding was held in a small Indiana town near Lyle's next concert date; Susan Sarandon was a bridesmaid, and the newlyweds danced to "Stand By Your Man." "I'm afraid I'm going to wake up, and this will all be just a dream," Roberts told a friend at the reception.
How it ended: The couple put up with "beauty and the beast" jokes for a respectable 21 months, though they spent much of their marriage apart. "I think we just had problems. We weren't supposed to be married," Roberts later reflected. "It just didn't work out on a very specific being-with-someone level. There was nothing wrong, nothing bad, no one did anything. It's not that complicated -- it's just inexplicable."
Matthew Perry (Dated 1996)
Relationship highlight: Remember when Julia Roberts guest-starred on Friends as Chandler's revenge-seeking dinner date? By the time the episode aired, Julia and Matthew Perry were casually seeing each other. “It’s pretty simple," she told Entertainment Weekly. "He’s a smart, very funny, talented, handsome man and he’s on my favorite show. He asked me on a date. Why would I say no?"
How it ended: Things never got serious between the funny man and the movie star. "I wouldn't classify that as a relationship," Roberts has said. "We went out on a bunch of dates, had fun, but the 'love affair' never existed."
Benjamin Bratt (Dated 1997-2001)
Relationship highlight: When Julia first spied Benjamin Bratt at a Los Angeles restaurant, it was love at first sight. "He walked in, and I looked up at him, and it was like something hit me over the head with a bat," she said of the Law & Order actor. While accepting her 2001 Golden Globe for Erin Brockovich, Roberts thanked her boyfriend profusely. "To go out and make movies... really doesn't mean as much if there's not somebody there to say, 'Have a good day, honey' and 'How was your day, honey?' Benjamin Bratt does that for me," she gushed.
How it ended: According to People, Bratt ended the relationship because Roberts didn't want to cut back on movie roles and settle down with him. Julia, however, said that the split was mutual. "It has come to a kind and tender-hearted end and my only regret is that it seems that in some odd form... the media can't accept that it is tender-hearted and kind," she told David Letterman. There were rumors that George Clooney was the other man, which both George and Julia denied. ("I didn't have time [to break them up]. I've been too busy breaking up Tom and Nicole," Clooney told the press.)
Danny Moder (Began dating April 2001; Married July 4, 2002)
Children: Henry, born 2007; Phinneas and Hazel, born 2004
Relationship highlight: Roberts first befriended cameraman Moder while shooting The Mexican in 2000, and he reportedly left his first wife for the actress a year later. Their surprise wedding took place in the guise of an Independence Day party at Julia's Taos, New Mexico ranch; guests were asked to wear white linen and bring a plant for the couple's garden. Eleven years and three children later, Roberts says they're as happy as newlyweds. "Make out with my husband… just kissing. It’s all we do," Julia joked in 2012. "I'm cooking, I'm cleaning, or I'm making out with my husband."