In honour of Julia Roberts‘ 55th birthday, fans of the actor are sharing a little-known fact about how Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King, played an integral role in her birth story.
Roberts’ Oct. 28 birthday congratulations included several videos shared to Twitter in which the Academy Award winner discussed with journalist Gayle King in September how the civil rights leaders helped her parents pay for her birth.
Zara Rahim, a former strategic advisor for Barack Obama, shared the video to the social media platform, writing, “Can’t stop thinking about this since I read it.”
In the video, which shows Gayle and Roberts chatting as part of an A&E Networks and History Channel HISTORYTalks event in Washington, D.C., King asks Roberts to share the story of her birth and who helped her parents pay for the hospital stay.
“OK, her research is very good,” the smiling movie star told the crowd. “The King family paid for my hospital bills.”
Roberts went on to explain that her parents, Betty Lou Bredemus and Walter Grady Roberts, were unable to afford the hospital bill after she was born in 1967.
“My parents had a theatre school in Atlanta called the Actors and Writers Workshop,” she explained. “And 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 her kids. And my mom was like, ‘Sure. Come on over.’
“And so they just all became friends and they helped us out of a jam.”
Noted Gayle: “Yeah, because in the ’60s, you didn’t have little Black children interacting with little white kids in acting school. And your parents were like, ‘Come on in.’ I think that’s extraordinary, and it sort of lays the groundwork for who you are.”
“Oh, absolutely,” Roberts replied.
The Kings’ youngest daughter, Bernice King, also shared the clip on Twitter, writing that she was “grateful” the video was circulating.
“Grateful that #JuliaRoberts shared this story with @GayleKing and that so many people have been awed by it,” wrote Bernice, 59, on Sunday.
“I know the story well, but it is moving for me to be reminded of my parents’ generosity and influence. #CorettaScottKing #MLK.”