July 16, 2002 -- I've already prepared to don my boxing gloves over this issue, as it will surely be a hot-button one with the many of you who consider the Miss I'm about to speak of — make that Mrs. — to be "America's Sweetheart."
Although your initial reaction will be to lash out at me for being judgmental, if you clear your head of her pretty face long enough to hear the argument, you'll see I am not far off here.
Julia Roberts is "relationship challenged" and cannot be trusted.
Let's set the obvious aside. She's a great actress. She's beautiful. She's one of the most powerful women in Hollywood. But her love life makes about as much sense as Siegfried and Roy without tigers.
10-Day Amnesty Period Ends. Now I Attack
The reason I didn't write this little ditty two weeks ago is that I wasn't sure her marriage would even last this long and my editors would've had to change all my present tense verbs to the past tense.
Now that Julia and Danny Moder have cleared the 10-day threshold (I count working days only), it's safe to let rip with my little diatribe on Ms. Roberts, especially now that all the details of the nuptials are out in the clear.
It's important to establish the full scenario so you can see why I don't trust Julia as far as I can throw her.
She comes onto the scene in the mid-'80s, where she starts off with some soft films — Satisfaction and Mystic Pizza. No real sign of establishing a great acting reputation here, but she does glean a poignant relationship with Liam Neeson, her co-star in Satisfaction. They live together.
Julia's true talent inevitably shows up with a whopping performance in Steel Magnolias and she walks away with an Oscar nomination and an engagement to co-star Dylan McDermott. She doesn't win the Oscar and she breaks off the engagement.
Along comes a career flat-liner called Flatliners, but again, she meets and gets engaged to co-star Kiefer Sutherland. She leaves him, virtually at the altar, for his best friend, Jason Patric. She films Dying Young, where there are rumors that she is dating her co-star, Campbell Scott. She dates Daniel Day-Lewis.
Lovett and Leave It
Then sheer craziness ensues: She marries Lyle Lovett. The world collectively stops breathing for a minute. We didn't know she was even dating Lyle Lovett. We actually didn't think ANYBODY dated Lyle Lovett. Hey, I'm sure he's a great guy, but he's … unusual-looking.
So, Julia turns out to be this unexpected heroine marrying a guy like Lyle. We fall into this trap of thinking she's really wonderful and we're really shallow. Looks aren't everything, obviously, and she must have found bliss with him and … it lasts a little over a year.
She dabbles with this one, that one, Matthew Perry, rumors of Clooney and then … another keeper? Benjamin Bratt is on her arm full time. This lasts almost four years. Could this be The Real Thing?
We're skeptical, of course, but she seems to have finally settled down. This is the longest relationship to date. When she mentions his name, her face turns crimson, her hands visibly sweaty. She's giddy to the point of making the rest of us dizzy. She's in lovey-dovey-wuvvy heaven. Should we trust her this time?
I saw the demise of this relationship coming like ants watching a bowling ball heading to their anthill. At the Golden Globes 2001, Ben goes from her "be all and end all" to her "been there and done that." By the Academy Awards, they've gone from cooing to hissing at each other in public.
Some people are still surprised by the breakup. The word on the street is that once again, Julia just wasn't ready to settle down. Ben wanted marriage and family and she didn't.
Does she even know what she wants?
She met her future husband, Danny Moder, on the set of The Mexican less than two years ago. She was in the midst of dating Bratt and Moder was in a four-year marriage. We don't exactly know what transpired there, but I'm guessing whatever happened, Ben clearly got the feeling that things weren't going as well as before.
Then he films Piñero.
I saw the movie, which stars Bratt and his new PREGNANT wife, Talisa Soto. I may not have any real heat in my own life to speak of, but I remember what it's like. These two may be great actors, but you can't fake that kind of fire in a movie. I'd bet the farm that the two of them were going at it during filming.
I think the real deal is that Ben told Julia he found someone new because he knew she had found Moder and was losing interest in him. Frankly, you can't blame the guy.
Quick! Hide Your Man! Julia’s Coming
For the sake of salvaging the strange reputation she has as the one who does the breaking up, they went with the "Julia's just not ready" story. After all, it seemed believable enough, since she's done it countless times before.
Meantime, almost instantly, Bratt is seen with Soto, they're married and she's pregnant. Fair enough.
But hold on just a darn-tootin' minute — at the same time, we're hearing about Julia and "the married cameraman," aka Danny Moder. She's hiding away with him. She's breaking up his marriage. She's allegedly paying off his wife to give him a quickie divorce. She's having a little Fourth of July get-together. She marries him.
As far as I'm concerned, the girl's too shaky and I'm not falling for her love antics anymore. As a matter of fact, if you have a man, ANY MAN, keep him hidden from the likes of Julia Roberts. Even though she's married (for now) and her friends say it's different this time, it's the real thing, yada, yada, yada, I wouldn't trust her around my grandpa.
As for "America's Sweetheart," from her past behavior regarding relationships, it's hard to believe she even has one.
Heidi Oringer is director of entertainment programming at ABCNEWS Radio.