THE ACTRESS RECALLS THE EVENTS THAT MADE HER WHO SHE IS TODAY
1. MARRYING DANNY MODER
Julia and her cameraman husband met on the set of 2001’s The Mexican and wed a year later. “I think that first kind of real seismic shift was meeting Danny. That was the first, like, ‘my life will never be the same in the most incredible, indescribable way,’” remembers Julia. “He’s the best decision I’ve ever made.”
2. WINNING AN OSCAR
After two previous nominations, Julia scored the Academy Award for best actress for 2000’s Erin Brockovich. “I thought Ellen Burstyn was going to win,” she confides, adding that she was genuinely shocked when her name was called. “I was happy — I mean, you know, hell, I just won the Academy Award. Never thought that was going to happen!”
3. HAVING CHILDREN
Raising her kids, Phinnaeus, 15, Hazel, 15, and Henry, 12, has made Julia’s life richer. “My life at home gives me absolute joy,” she gushes. “I love being at home. I love cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner. I love doing laundry. It’s such a terrific trade-off. I don’t have time to get a pedicure, but I sure am happy. Who cares if your feet look bad?”
“I’m more content,” Julia says of being home with her adorable family.
4. LOSING HER MOTHER
The passing of Betty Lou Bredemus after a long illness in 2015 devastated Julia, but deepened her gratitude. “My mom worked a full-time job and raised three girls pretty much on her own,” Julia recalls. “I think about her all the time. She just crosses my mind, and I’ll turn and I see something that says ‘Betty,’ just unexpectedly.”
5. WORKING WITH MICHELLE OBAMA
Last month on a trip to Vietnam with the former first lady, Julia grew teary after hearing the inspiring story of Tay Thi, who defied her parents to attend school and become a teacher. “It’s such a beautiful thing: She just never gave up,” marvels Julia. “I will never recover from that story.”
Through the Girls Opportunity Alliance, Julia and Michelle encourage young women to stay in school.