- Hollywood actress
- Pro-Democrat activist
- Strong supporter of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama
- Claims that global warming is caused by industrial and automotive pollution
Julia Roberts was born on October 28, 1967 in Smyrna, Georgia. She moved to New York after high school and never attended college. “I couldn’t see bolting out of bed at 8 a.m. to be ten minutes late for some f***ing [college] class with some f***ing guy who’s just gonna stick it to me again,” she once explained.
After appearing in a few relatively obscure movies, Roberts in 1989 co-starred in the popular film Steel Magnolias, for which she garnered her first Oscar nomination. She subsequently had starring roles in such box-office hits as Pretty Woman (1990), Sleeping with the Enemy (1991), Dying Young (1991), My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997), Erin Brockovich (2000), America’s Sweethearts (2001), Mona Lisa Smile (2003), and Charlie Wilson’s War (2007), commonly earning as much as $25 million per film.
Apart from her creative achievements, Roberts boasts that she also has “lots of ideas” about politics and social issues and is “willing to share them.”
In June 1999, Roberts was one of many celebrities who signed on to Handgun Control, Inc.'s “Open Letter to the National Rifle Association,” demanding the implementation of a number of gun-control measures. Among these were the abolition of “semi-automatic assault weapons” and “ammunition clips holding more than 10 rounds.”
On September 14, 2000, Roberts served as a celebrity emcee for a New York fundraising gala on behalf of that year's Democratic presidential ticket, Al Gore and Joe Lieberman. “'Republican' comes in the dictionary just after 'reptile' and just above 'repugnant,'” the actress told the cheering attendees, adding: “I looked up 'Democrat.' It's 'of the people, by the people, for the people.'”
In March 2001 Roberts characterized the newly elected U.S. president, George W. Bush, as “embarrassing” to the United States and said, “He’s not my president. He will never be my president.” That same month, when Bush’s twin daughters were implicated for possible underage drinking, Roberts quipped: “We all need to take a deep breath and think about being a Bush daughter and having that cross to bear. I’d go out and have a couple of drinks, too.”
Roberts has been particularly outspoken on environmental issues. In 2006 she appeared—along with George Clooney, Al Gore, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.—on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine’s “Special Green Issue,” beneath the headline: “A Threat Greater than Terrorism: Global Warming.” That same year, Roberts was a spokeswoman for a campaign by the Dallas-based company Earth Biofuels, encouraging the use of biodiesel in more than 500,000 school buses nationwide. “The use of biodiesel is a positive step toward minimizing pollutive emissions and greenhouse gases,” said Roberts. “[W]e can affect the health and well-being of the people most susceptible to that pollution—our children—today.”
In December 2007, Variety magazine interviewed Roberts and reported that she had “a desire to be an organic supermom who grows and makes all of her own food and does as many crafts as she can fit into a day with as little impact on the environment as possible.” Emphasizing her own unwavering commitment to environmentalism, Roberts, in the foreword of Sophie Uliano’s 2008 book Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life, wrote: “I absolutely believe I am in the majority of people who are concerned about the environment and the state of our planet. Mother Earth has seen better days.”
Contrary to her professed concern about “pollutive emissions and greenhouse gases,” however, Roberts is well known for her frequent use of private jets. And while she occasionally drives a Prius, she also has owned gas-guzzling SUVs for many years.
On the political stage, Roberts considers Hillary Clinton “a personal hero” because of “who she [Clinton] is and her convictions as a woman and mother and humanitarian.” In May 2011, Roberts and Clinton co-authored a piece in USA Today stating that the toxic fumes produced in homes around the world by stoves that burn wood, dung, charcoal, or agricultural waste create “carbon dioxide, methane, and black carbon, which contribute to climate change.” Citing also the gender-related implications of this issue, the authors wrote: “On average, women and girls in developing countries spend up to 20 hours a week searching for fuel—time they could spend going to school, running a business, or raising their families. And if they live in areas of conflict, leaving home to search for fuel puts them at great risk of assault or rape.”
In a 2014 interview, Roberts said it would be “really great, really great” if Mrs. Clinton were to be elected president in 2016.
Roberts is also a great admirer of Barack Obama. Early in Obama's presidency (March 2009), the actress said: “We [Americans] were headed down a bad path. Everybody knew it and there was no way to correct it. Now he's here to slowly, but surely, save us from ourselves.... We asked this man to be our president, a job that I don't know why anybody would want anymore after eight years of George Bush. I mean really, the fact that someone as bright and capable as Barack Obama wanted to be president, we should all be eternally grateful.”
When Obama was running for re-election in 2012, Roberts attended a $25,000-per-person fundraiser on his behalf in Los Angeles. Similarly, in October 2014 she attended an exclusive Obama fundraiser at the Brentwood, California home of actress Gwyneth Paltrow.
Roberts today has a net worth of approximately $170 million. In 2015 she placed her historic beachront home and estate in Hawaii up for sale. She had purchased the property for just under $14 million a few years earlier, and was now asking $30 million for it.
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