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Julia Roberts shocked to discover she isn’t actually Julia ‘Roberts'

Sophie Cockerham

Published 
| Last updated 

Julia Roberts shocked to discover she isn’t actually Julia ‘Roberts'

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

She’s one of the biggest names in Hollywood, starring in classic rom-coms such as Pretty Woman, Notting Hill and My Best Friend’s Wedding.

But it turns out that Julia Roberts’ real name… isn’t actually Julia Roberts.

Confused? Us too.

The video below clears things up:

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Last week, the actor, 55, took part in Ancestry's latest season of Finding Your Roots, a series in which Dr Henry Louis Gates Jr uses genealogical detective work and cutting-edge DNA analysis to guide influential guests through the branches of their family trees.

And during her time in the hot seat, Gates had some shocking news to break to Eat, Pray, Love star.

"The story begins with her great grandfather, John Roberts, and with his mother, a woman named Rhoda Suttle," he explained.

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As Gates talked through her family history, Julia admitted she had never heard the name Suttle before (although joked that ‘subtle’ isn’t exactly a word that could be used to describe her outgoing family).

Dr Gates had a surprise in store for Julia. Credit: Ancestry/YouTube'
Dr Gates had a surprise in store for Julia. Credit: Ancestry/YouTube'

The doctor then urged her to turn the page in the 1880 census for Douglas County, Georgia, where she's shown her great grandfather, full name John Pendleton Roberts.

At the time he was just a toddler and living under the care of his mother, full name Rhoda Suttle Roberts, alongside his three brothers.

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But - and here’s where it gets juicy - Gates then pointed out that the father’s name is missing in the text.

He continued: "Digging into Georgia's County archives, we discovered that sometime in the 1850s, Rhoda married a man named Willis Roberts.

"Julia carries Willis' last name. But Willis passed away in 1864, over a decade before Rhoda gave birth to Julia's great grandfather, John, leading to an inescapable conclusion."

Turning to the Hollywood star, he explains: "Willis Roberts could not possibly be your great, great grandfather. He was dead."

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A rightfully baffled Julia then asked: "But am I not a Roberts?"

While it didn’t seem so, the team then hit a dead-end when they were unable to find any record of John’s father in Douglas County.

So the experts turned to a more modern way of gaining results: DNA.

Julia couldn't believe the news. Credit: Ancestry/YouTube
Julia couldn't believe the news. Credit: Ancestry/YouTube
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Testing both Julia and one of her father's first cousins, a fellow descendant of John Roberts, the cluster of matches tied both family members to one man: Henry McDonald Mitchell Jr.

And in what is surely an Oscar-winning twist, Julia asked: "So we're Mitchells?" To which Gates replied: "You're Julia Mitchell."

Just when we’d recovered from that bombshell, Gates revealed he had more of the story to add.

When John was two, his biological father - Mr Mitchell - was listed as living with his wife at the time, a woman named Sarah - and, conveniently, he lived just a few miles from Rhoda.

What's more, Rhoda lived not far from Mitchell's widowed mother - so perhaps he was sneaking off for a cheeky affair with Rhoda while pretending he was visiting his mum.

As for the Notting Hill star, although she admits it's an 'unexpected turn', she still prefers the name Roberts. So it's not looking like she'll be changing to Julia Mitchell anytime soon.

Affairs, scandal and uncovered secrets from the past? Sounds like Julia has just found the plot for her next movie.

Topics: Celebrity, TV And Film

Sophie Cockerham
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