The Academy Award-winning actress appeared on the History Channel’s series “HISTORYTalks” in September, where she revealed a little-known fact about her life: The revered preacher and activist and his wife, Coretta Scott King, footed the bill for her birth.
Roberts said the couple were familiar with her parents, Walter and Betty Roberts, through their theater school in Atlanta, the Actors and Writers Workshop. “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 their kids. And my mom was like, ‘Sure come on over,’” explained Roberts.
The “Pretty Woman” star, who was born on Oct. 28, 1967, recently celebrated her 55th birthday, making her connection to the Kings that much more relevant across social media. She added, “And they all became friends, and they helped us out of a jam.”
For many, Dr. King and his wife’s act of generosity was not surprising, but Roberts being a benefactor of that kindness was. “I know the story well, but it is moving for me to be reminded of my parents’ generosity and influence,” wrote the youngest of the King’s children, Bernice King.
“This is an incredible fact about Julia Roberts and MLK. Worth 90 seconds,” wrote another person.
“WOW!!! Now that’s quite a revelation,” remarked another person.
At that time Roberts was born, the South was still grappling with years of segregation, having only integrated schools Atlanta Public Schools in 1961. Atlanta playwright Phillip DePoy recounted the theater being a staple in the community and the site of a racially motivated attack acted out by a Klansman. DePoy, who is self-described as “primary white,” said the man saw him kiss Yolanda King, the eldest of the King’s four children.
“I kissed a girl, and 10 yards away a Buick exploded. I was on the back of a flatbed truck that had been converted into a swamp. I was a fox. The girl was a terrapin. We were in Atlanta, it was a very nice summer day in 1965, and I was 15 years old. … That’s what the trouble was about. I don’t know who owned the Buick, but I know who blew it up,” he wrote in an essay for ArtsATL.org in 2013.