The 55-year-old opened up about the day of her birth, back in 1967, in a now viral interview with Gayle King for A+E Networks and History Channel’s HISTORYTalk.
During the interview, which was conducted last month and shared on Twitter over the weekend, Gayle asked Roberts about “who paid the [hospital] bill” after she was born. In response, the Pretty Woman star told the broadcast journalist that her “research is very good,” before revealing that Martin Luther King Jr and Coretta King paid the bill.
After noting that her parents, Walter and Betty Roberts, “couldn’t pay for the bill,” she said that the two activists offered to do it. The move was in gratitude to Roberts’ family for a previous gesture, which gave Martin and Coretta’s children an opportunity to go to a new school.
“My parents had a theatre school in Atlanta called the Actors and Writers Workshop, and one day Coretta Scott King 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,” the Ticket to Paradise star explained.
According to Roberts, her mother told Coretta and Martin to “come on over” to the school. She also noted that after this experience, her parents became close to the King family.
“And so they all became friends and they helped us out of a jam,” she added.
In response, Gayle King acknowledged that schools were still racially segregated at the time and praised Roberts’ parents.
“In the ‘60s, you didn’t have little Black children interacting with little white kids in acting school,” the host said. “And your parents were like, ‘Come on in.’ I think that’s extraordinary, and it sort of lays the groundwork for who you are.”
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
Roberts agreed with TV host’s sentiment, responding: “Oh, absolutely.”
On Twitter, many fans have applauded Martin for his kind gesture and Roberts for sharing this story.
“Illustrates just how young MLK was when he was assassinated and how recently he lived. Too many of us think America’s racist past was long ago,” one wrote. “It is a living memory.”
“I’ve always found Julia Roberts to be an amazing actress, and definitely in my top 3 of all times. This story leaves me with a lot of PURE joy because now I’ve learned she is an amazing human being as well,” another person wrote.
Martin and Coretta’s youngest child, Bernice, also responded to the viral tweet and confirmed that Roberts’ story was true. She also expressed her gratitude for the Notting Hill star.
“Grateful that #JuliaRoberts shared this story with @GayleKing and that so many people have been awed by it,” Bernice wrote. “I know the story well, but it is moving for me to be reminded of my parents’ generosity and influence.”
Grateful that #JuliaRoberts shared this story with @GayleKing and that so many people have been awed by it.
I know the story well, but it is moving for me to be reminded of my parents’ generosity and influence.#CorettaScottKing #MLK pic.twitter.com/Hn9yOVxYIL
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) October 31, 2022