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Julia Roberts Explains Why She Stopped Doing Romantic Comedies For Years

Julia Roberts smiling in Notting Hill
(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

The latest romantic comedy that co-starred Julia Roberts was Mother’s Day. That was a small part six years ago, and twenty years since she was a rom-com lead in America’s Sweethearts. Julia Roberts was known for iconic rom-com roles like a prostitute forming an unlikely pair with a wealthy businessman in Pretty Woman, running away from her grooms in Runaway Bride, and the romance she encountered with a London bookseller in Notting Hill. In recent years, she’s been in more heavy dramas like Money Monster and Ben is Back. After not being a romantic comedy for so long, Julia Roberts explains why she stopped doing them.

It’s been a long time since we’ve had a truly memorable romantic comedy that people can talk about for years and years. Where’s the next Annie Hall or When Harry Met Sally? Julia Roberts is waiting for the next one herself. In an interview with New York Times Magazine, Julia Roberts explains what has stopped her from appearing in romantic comedies in recent years and what it would take for her to see her in one again.

People sometimes misconstrue the amount of time that’s gone by that I haven’t done a romantic comedy as my not wanting to do one. If I had read something that I thought was that Notting Hill level of writing or My Best Friend’s Wedding level of madcap fun, I would do it. They didn’t exist until this movie that I just did that Ol Parker wrote and directed. But even with that, I thought, Well, disaster, because this only works if it’s George Clooney. Lo and behold, George felt it only worked with me. Somehow we were both able to do it, and off we went.

The project that the Pretty Woman star is talking about is her re-teaming with George Clooney in the upcoming movie Ticket to Paradise. This would also be George Clooney’s first rom-com in over 25 years after starring in One Fine Day. Clooney and Roberts have had a long history with each other, dating back to two Ocean’s movies, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, him producing Roberts and Meryl Streep in August: Osage County, plus Money Monster. With the working chemistry the two of them have had in the work they’ve shared together, we can trust that their next rom-com together will be one we can cherish and hopefully add to our own “best rom-com” list. 

Being a mother and an actress can be hard to juggle at times. After all, former rom-com star Cameron Diaz is living her best life as she retired from acting to focus on being a mother to her kids. While Julia Roberts is not retiring anytime soon, she further went on to explain that the work she does right now depends on her husband’s work schedule and the school schedules of her three kids.

Here’s the thing: If I’d thought something was good enough, I would have done it. But I also had three kids in the last 18 years. That raises the bar even more because then it’s not only Is this material good? It’s also the math equation of my husband’s work schedule and the kids’ school schedule and summer vacation. It’s not just, Oh, I think I want to do this. I have a sense of great pride in being home with my family and considering myself a homemaker.

There was a time when the Pretty Woman star said she would not star in a romantic comedy anymore because being a lead in them would not match the life experiences she has had now. While Roberts could see herself playing the parent of a lead in a rom-com, she felt she could not be the same rom-com lead that she was in the past. Julia Roberts felt that since audiences would not see her anymore as “naive and emotionally juvenile," it would be a problem to continue being typecast as such right now. Luckily, trusting the chemistry Julia Roberts previously had with George Clooney was enough to get her back into the rom-com game.

It’s a breath of fresh air to know that we can see Julia Roberts return to her romantic comedy roots. I still expect to see her joy and charm please audiences today. To get a good idea of what you’d be in for with a Julia Roberts rom-com, here is where you can watch her best movies today