This recent public statement by the fiancee of actress Julia Robert’s half-sister Nancy Motes may be spelling out the new rules of celebrity life in the truly tell-all era of social media. What is the cost of a media world when angry Tweet messages or even alleged seven-page suicide notes can go viral?
Tragically, Nancy Motes– as the world is now learning– died of an apparent drug overdose and presumed suicide on Feb. 9th. In photos, Motes shares her famous sibling’s beaming smile. But the sisters’ relationship allegedly darkened in later life. Given the hostile nature of Mote’s Tweets on her superstar sister, speculation abounds about the supposedly lengthy suicide note Motes may have left behind.
Scandals hit hardest when the stars involved have seemed the most invincible. Since bursting into stardom in Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts with her mile-wide smile has lived a charmed celebrity life. An A-list star with a rare common touch, a longtime wife and mother of three offscreen, Roberts with her offbeat beauty projects vibrant warmth and humor onscreen.
Recently she has begun succeeding in making the tricky switch to serious actress, holding her own with Meryl Streep in August: Osage County. Some have callously speculated that her sister’s death may have been timed to ‘deny’ Roberts a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. Even in death, Roberts’ sister and family are seen in Julia’s shadow.
It can’t be easy to be a movie star’s sibling. Or being a star with a sterling wholesome image who comes from an all-too-real and troubled family. As with Woody Allen– whose alleged repugnant offscreen behavior is said to threaten Cate Blanchett’s Oscar chances– it’s painful yet perversely fascinating to watch family woes play out in public– and to have the unprecedented access to those woes that the social media era allows.
Radiant young Julia Roberts’ starmaking moment came in Pretty Woman when Richard Gere playfully held open a jewel box displaying a dazzling necklace. As Julia reached for the box with childish eagerness, Gere snapped it shut. Julia– regal in red velvet– burst into the wild girlish laugh heard round the world.
All these years later, will fame come back to bite this larger-than-life star, as a Pandora’s box of real-life troubles bursts open with– as always, for Julia Roberts– millions all-too-raptly watching?
(photos: GoogleImages, The Guardian.com, NYDailyNews.com, butterfliesandhurricansaccessstories.com)