A video of actress Julia Roberts telling “CBS Mornings” host Gayle King in September that the late Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King, paid for her hospital bill when she was born is recirculating on social media in honor of her birthday.
“OK, her research is very good,” the “Pretty Woman” star told the audience in response to Gayle King bringing the subject up. “The King family paid for my hospital bills.”
She recounted how her parents were friends with the Kings when they lived in Atlanta and ran a theater school.
“One day Coretta called my mother and asked if her kids could be part of the school because they were having a hard time finding a place that would accept her kids,” Roberts recalled, referring to segregation that took place in the 1960s. “My mom was like, ‘Sure, come on over,’ and so they all just became friends, and they helped us out of a jam.”
Today is Julia Roberts birthday! 55 years ago MLK and Coretta Scott King paid for her parents hospital bill after she was born. Can’t stop thinking about this since I read it. Here she is talking about it with @GayleKing https://t.co/5HvpNSUIYb pic.twitter.com/147x6d807W
— Zara Rahim (@ZaraRahim) October 28, 2022
Gayle King drooled over the claim by Roberts, calling her parents’ decision “extraordinary” because people didn’t see “little black children interacting with little white kids in acting school” during that period of time.
Roberts’ parents, Betty and Walter Roberts, reportedly had a run-in with the Ku Klux Klan who blew up a car outside of one of their plays. The terroristic act was allegedly in response to King’s daughter Yolanda being cast in a role where she kissed a white actor.
The other young actor was Phillip DePoy, who wrote an essay for ARTS ATL in 2013 telling about his experience at the Atlanta school.
DePoy was 15 years old in the summer of 1965 when the explosion occurred.
Happy Birthday to Julia Roberts pic.twitter.com/RMMK0KaX1O
— Film Updates (@FilmUpdates) October 28, 2022
“A man, a tangential member of the Ku Klux Klan, had seen me kiss Yolanda the day before in the same parking lot,” he wrote. “The Klansman had come around the day before the explosion in order to make trouble. The workshop was offering a free show in the Carver Homes housing project, an exclusively African-American wonderland filled with hammered lives and children with nothing to do. The guy only heckled us the first day, said words that everyone had heard a million times before, finished his case of PBR, and was about to leave when I kissed Yolanda.”
He noted that Yolanda King was dressed as a terrapin and he was wearing a fox costume. After their kiss, a Buick “ten yards away” burst into flames.
Julia Roberts parents let MLK's kids attend their acting school during a time when black and white kids didn't mix
When Julia was born Martin and Coretta paid the Roberts' hospital bill
— kenyadad12 (@kenyadad12) October 30, 2022
“Yolanda and I stared at each other,” DePoy wrote. “Rob came to the side of the stage and said something to the crowd. I couldn’t hear what it was, but almost everyone laughed and some applauded. Then he turned to us and said, ‘And the next line is?’”
“Yolanda King spent the rest of her life involved in theater; my brother, Scott DePoy, who had joined the workshop before I had, continues to work all over the Southeast. Eric Roberts eventually went to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. I understand that even his younger sister got involved in acting,” he concluded.
“Feeling the love and magic on my ⚡️55th ⚡️ Birthday ! My cup runneth over 🥰,” she captioned her Instagram photo.
View this post on Instagram
The actress is happily married to her husband, cinematographer Danny Moder, and adores their children, 17-year-old twins Hazel and Phinnaeus and 15-year-old Henry.
“The life that I have built with my husband, [and] the life that we’ve built with our children, that’s the best stuff,” she proclaimed. “To come home at the end of the day, triumphantly, to them.”
Julia Roberts childhood is fascinating. Her parents running an acting school and being the only white folks in Atlanta welcoming Black students. All the racism (there is a story about one of their cars being set on fire). The close friendship with MLK, Coretta and their family
— Ashley Reynolds (@Ashley_Reynolds) August 16, 2021
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