Julia Roberts has revealed a unique story about her birth — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King, paid for her parents’ hospital bill after she was born.
During a September interview with Gayle King for History Channel’s “HISTORYTalks” series, Roberts spoke about her family’s unexpected connection to the two historical figures.
“The King family paid for my hospital bills,” Roberts said.
“Not my family,” joked Gayle King, since she has the same surname as the civil rights leader. “Martin Luther King Jr.”
Roberts explained that her parents, Walter and Betty Lou Roberts, had owned a theater school in Atlanta called the Actors and Writers Workshop. Coretta Scott King asked if her kids could be enrolled in the school, since they were having troubling finding other places that would accept her kids.
“And so, they just all became friends and they helped us out of a jam,” said Roberts, who was born on October 28, 1967 and turned 55 last week.
“Yeah, because in the ’60s you didn’t have little Black children interacting with little White kids in acting school,” said Gayle King, who also co-hosts “CBS Mornings.” “And your parents were like, ‘Come on in.’ And I think that’s extraordinary and it lays the ground work for who you are.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was from Atlanta and became one of the most prominent civil rights leaders in the United States. With nonviolent protests, Martin Luther King Jr. helped lead the movement to advance the rights of people of color. Less than six months after Roberts was born, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, which was followed by a day of national mourning.
The interview went viral this week after business adviser Zara Rahim tweeted a clip of it to honor Roberts on her recent birthday.
Bernice King, the youngest daughter of Coretta Scott and Martin Luther King Jr., also tweeted a clip of the interview on Sunday, saying that she was “grateful” that Roberts told the story 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,” she added.
The “HISTORYTalks” series began in 2019 and each year features live talks with several high profile speakers. This year, former President George W. Bush, former First lady Laura Bush and George and Amal Clooney were among the speakers.