Julia Roberts Says Martin Luther King Jr. Paid for Her Birth



  • Julia Roberts revealed that Martin Luther King Jr. paid for her birth in a September chat with Gayle King.
  • Roberts said the King family stepped in to help when her parents couldn’t afford the hospital bill.
  • Roberts’ fans have taken to social media to discuss the intimate detail about the “Pretty Woman” star. 

Julia Roberts shared that her birth was paid for by the late civil rights activists Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King, in a riveting conversation with Gayle King that has recently gone viral.

Zara Rahim, a former strategic advisor for Barack Obama, shared a video on Twitter Friday to commemorate Roberts’ birthday, noting the King family’s influence in her life.

In September, The “Pretty Woman” star, 55, sat down with Gayle King at a HISTORYTalks event in Washington, DC, where Roberts revealed the King family stepped in when her parents “couldn’t afford to pay the hospital bill.”

“The King family paid for my hospital bill … Martin Luther King and Coretta,” Roberts said. “They helped us out of a jam,” she later added.

Roberts told Gayle that prior to her birth her parents, Walter and Betty Lou Roberts, ran the Actors and Writers Workshop in Atlanta, Georgia, and welcomed the King children during a time where Black children were not allowed to integrate into white schools.

“One day Coretta Scott King called my mother and asked if her kids could be part of the school cause they were having a hard time finding a place that would accept her kids, and my mom was like ‘sure come on over,’” Roberts said.

After their children joined the school, the families became friends, Roberts added.

Following the Kings’ entry as students, a Ku Klux Klan member blew up a car outside of the school, according to an essay by Phillip Depoy published on Arts ATL, a publication that covers Atlanta’s art scene. The terrorist act was in response to Yolanda King, King’s first-born child, being cast as a love interest to a white counterpart, Depoy writes.

During the conversation, Gayle applauded the Roberts family for their role in integrating the Atlanta theater scene in a time of heightened racial injustice. 

“In the 60s you didn’t have little Black children interacting with little white kids in an acting school, and your parents were like ‘come on in.’ I think that’s extraordinary and it sort of lays the groundwork for who you are,” Gayle said. 

Social media users took to Twitter to discuss Robert’s revelation. One Twitter user wrote, “Martin Luther King Jr paying for her birth is still a little known fact that sends me.” 

Roberts has been vocal about racial injustice in the past. According to the Los Angeles Times, Roberts discussed the period she spent filming “Sleeping with the Enemy” in Abbeville, South Carolina, in a 1990 interview with Rolling Stone.

While speaking with the outlet Roberts said the town was “horribly racist” and called it a “living hell” after her Black friend was refused service at a restaurant. 

After the incident, the Abbeville residents raised money to take out a Variety ad condemning Roberts for her comments. “Pretty Woman? Pretty Low,” the ad read according to the Spartanburg Herald-Journal.

Roberts later clarified her comments in a statement to the Anderson Independent-Mail.

“I was shocked that this type of treatment still exists in America in the 90s — in the South or anywhere else,” she said via the Orlando Sentinel.





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