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Remembering Julia Roberts' Shady Display During Her Now-Husband's Divorce

The actor called out Danny Moder's then-wife with a handmade t-shirt.

Julia Roberts is one of the most beloved movie stars in the industry. Known for her dazzling smile, she won audiences' hearts with star turns in films including Mystic Pizza, Pretty Woman, and Erin Brockovich, the last of which won her an Academy Award and set a record for the most a female star had ever been paid for a movie at the time with her $20 million salary.

However, Roberts has also made headlines by being at the center of some Hollywood feuds and relationship drama over the years. One of the most infamous incidents came in 2002, when she infamously wore a t-shirt that she knew she would be photographed in that seemingly called out her current husband Danny Moder's then-wife. Read on to learn how the couple met and what issue Roberts had with his now-ex.

RELATED: Bradley Cooper & Renée Zellweger Split Because She "Took a Backseat" to His Career.

Roberts met her husband when he was still married.

Julia Roberts in 2000
S. Granitz/WireImage

In 2000, coming off Erin Brockovich, Roberts was filming The Mexican, a crime romance movie that had her starring opposite Brad Pitt. While shooting in Mexico, the star got to know one of the movie's cameramen: Moder. At the time, both of them were involved with other people. She had been with actor Benjamin Bratt since 1998, and he had been married to makeup artist Vera Steimberg since 1997.

Despite that, they became close and eventually fell for each other. Roberts broke up with Bratt in June of 2001, though she said during an interview on The Late Show With David Letterman that it was a "tenderhearted end" that the media only wanted to make "messy and ugly." Moder also soon began the process of splitting from Steimberg, moving out of their house two months after Roberts and Bratt broke up.

Roberts denied that she was a homewrecker.

Julia Roberts and Danny Moder in 2002
Arnaldo Magnani/Getty Images

Exactly when Roberts and Moder began dating isn't totally clear, but it was undoubtedly before he his divorce was finalized. Moder's relationship with Steimberg was already on the rocks, a source told the Daily Mail. (That same story also reports that Roberts ended her relationship with Bratt because she had such strong feelings for Moder.)

In a 2003 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Roberts said that the dissolution of Moder's marriage didn't have anything to do with her.

"He sorted his whole thing out, separate and apart from me. And I sorted my life out, separate and apart from him. I think that's the only reason we were able to ultimately fall in love with each other and be together," Roberts said

"So you didn't cause the breakup of his marriage," Winfrey said.

"No," Roberts responded. "I'm an easy person to point the finger at—"She did it"—and I see that. I don't begrudge people the easy finger-point. It just doesn't happen to be so."

Moder's sister, Jyl Moder, who was close with Steimberg, did blame Roberts for breaking up the marriage, according to a 2017 diary obtained by RadarOnline.

She wore a shirt with a shady hand-drawn message on it.

Julia Roberts wearing "A Low Vera" shirt in 2002
Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Roberts and Moder went public with their relationship in the fall of 2001, when he and Steimberg were still legally married. There were some reports that Steimberg was purposely delaying the divorce, which led to some very famous paparazzi photos.

On March 22, 2002, Roberts was photographed out in West Hollywood sitting an an outdoor cafe table, talking on a cell phone, and wearing a white t-shirt with hand-drawn lettering on it that read "A Low Vera," which was likely a reference to her then-boyfriend's then-wife.

Roberts declined to explain what she meant by the shirt.

Julia Roberts wearing A Low Vera shirt in 2002
Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

The apparent meaning of Roberts' DIY shirt is not subtle, though the star has not made much of an attempt to explain herself. In that same interview with Winfrey the following year, Roberts was asked why she wore the shirt and what it meant.

"You know what that was about? It was private," Roberts responded. "I stand by my T-shirt."

Roberts and Moder have been married since 2002, though rumors have circulated recently.

Julia Roberts and Danny Moder in 2022
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Moder and Steimberg finalized their divorce in June 2002, and he and Roberts were married a month later, on July 4 at Roberts' 82-acre ranch in Taos, New Mexico. The ceremony, according to People, was a surprise midnight affair.

On Nov. 8, 2004, the pair welcomed their first children, twins Phinnaeus and Hazel. Their third child, Henry Daniel, was born three years later.

The couple have been very loving towards each other publicly, as she frequently gives effusive quotes about him in interviews and populates her social media timeline with tributes to her husband and their kids. But there have been rumors of a rocky patch as of late. Life & Style reported late last year that the pair have not been publicly photographed together since December 2022 and that there's trouble afoot.

"They seem to be living separate lives," a source told Life & Style. "Friends fear that after years of ups and downs, this is finally the end. It feels like they just gave up."

However, neither Moder nor Roberts have said anything to indicate that they're splitting up, and another source told OK around the same time that though they had "been through so much to find solid ground" and are now "closer than they ever were."

James Grebey
James has been an entertainment journalist for more than a decade, writing and editing for outlets like Vulture, Inverse, Polygon, TIME, The Daily Beast, SPIN Magazine, Fatherly, and more. Read more
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