How Did Martin Luther King Jr Help Julia Roberts?

Photo Credit: James Devaney

It’s a small world after all.

A previously unknown then overlooked connection between two icons in history is going viral. I’m talking about actress Julia Roberts and minister Martin Luther King Jr.


While talking with Gayle King during an episode of A&E’s HISTORYTalks this September, the 55-year-old Oscar Winner told King that her birth in 1967 was made a lot easier by Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King. The two civil rights leaders fronted the hospital bill!

According to sources including CNN and Entertainment Weekly, Julia told Gayle in the interview: “The King family paid for my hospital bill the day I was born. Martin Luther King and Coretta became great friends with my parents and helped us out of a jam.”

For some reason, the interview clip went seemingly unnoticed until Barack Obama’s strategic advisor, Zara Rahim, shared the piece of information on Twitter. Find it just below! 


The King’s and Roberts’ parents, Walter and Betty Lou, became friends because Roberts’ parents owned an acting school in Atlanta named The Actors and Writers’ Workshop. At the time, The King’s were trying to get their children enrolled in an acting school, but were denied at every application due to racial tension and prejudice in the 60’s and 70’s. Walter and Betty Lou were the only ones to give them a chance. 

The families remained friends until Martin’s assassination in 1968 and Coretta’s death from ovarian cancer in 2006. Julia herself stayed in contact with the children she grew up with and participated in acting challenges with, even until Yolanda King’s death in 2007. It was a friendship that truly withstood the test of time.

Julia Roberts went on to become one of the most well-known actresses in Hollywood after starring in films including Erin Brockovich, Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride and Steel Magnolias. A gay and civil rights activist and a woman who raises awareness for climate change, I think it’s safe to say that we now know where she gets her philanthropic backbone from!

Sources: CNN, Entertaiment Weekly 

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