Julia Roberts is not really a ‘Roberts’, she says 'mind blown' after family tree tracingtext_fields
Los Angeles: Hollywood actress Julia Roberts recently went through genealogical work and DNA archives as part of Ancestory's "Finding Your Roots". She was surprised to find that she is not actually a 'Roberts' after all.
The 55-year-old learnt that her surname is completely different going back to her great-great-grandmother's because the woman had an affair with a married man with the surname Mitchell. Julia Roberts’ great-great-grandmother Rhoda Suttle Roberts was married to Willis Roberts. He passed away in 1864.
Rhoda gave birth to her son John a decade after her husband's death which led to the conclusion that John Roberts is not biologically a 'Roberts'. Her great-grandfather John Pendleton Roberts is in the archives as per the 1880 census. However, Willis is not listed.
Historian Dr Henry Louis Gates Jr of Ancestory's "Finding Your Roots" told the actress: "Willis Roberts could not possibly be your great, great grandfather. He was dead." The actress was shocked and asked, "But am I not a Roberts?"
The team then used DNA from Julia and her cousin to find a possible match for her great-grandfather's father. After finding a cluster of matches, they were led to Henry MacDonald Mitchell Jr. The historian confirmed the ancestry and also revealed that Henry was married to a woman called Sarah with whom he had six children. It was also discovered that Rhoda lived only four doors away from Henry's mother.
Julia responded to the discovery by asking "So we're Mitchells?" She admitted that her "mind is blown". The actress also said the discovery is fascinating but she prefers the name Roberts and this was a very unexpected turn. "On the other hand, there's a part of me that when I'm calmer, I can still wrap my arms around the idea that my family is my family."