Celebrities | Pop Culture | 90s

26 Years Ago, Julia Roberts Was Literally A 'Runaway Bride'

While her career has struggled more lately, there was a time not that long ago when Julia Roberts was not only one of the biggest names in Hollywood, but, thanks to her iconic smile, was literally "America's Sweetheart."

While her part in 1989's Steel Magnolias won her a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress, it was her role as Vivian Ward, the hooker with a heart of gold, in 1990's Pretty Woman that made her a household name.

Touchstone Pictures

While she would star in some more serious roles, in the '90s she was best known for her romantic comedies, thanks to starring roles in movies like My Best Friend's Wedding and Notting Hill. In 1999 she would reunite with Pretty Woman co-star Richard Gere for the rom-com Runaway Bride.

Paramount Pictures

But what most of us never realized was that Julia's character, Maggie Carpenter, wasn't the only one experienced in leaving someone at the altar. In fact, it's something Julia herself was all too familiar with.

The same year she would get breakthrough role in Pretty Woman, she would also star in the sci-fi horror Flatliners. It was on the set of that movie that she would meet, and fall in love with, co-star Kiefer Sutherland.

Columbia Pictures

Sutherland had already made a name for himself thanks to his roles in movies like Stand By Me and Young Guns, but it was his role as the vampire David in The Lost Boys that would turn him into an '80s bad boy icon.

Warner Bros

The drama surrounding their romance was pretty much there from the start. Sutherland was still married to then-wife Camelia Kath, while Roberts broke off her engagement to Steel Magnolias co-star Dylan McDermott in order to be with Sutherland.

To almost rub salt in the wound, Roberts would end up including Sutherland in her acceptance speech after winning the Golden Globe for Steel Magnolias, thanking her “best friend — my beautiful blue-eyed, green-eyed best friend, who gives me everything.”

Considering her relationship with Sutherland was the third time she began dating a co-star (before her engagement to Dylan McDermott she dated Satisfaction co-star Liam Neeson), we probably should have seen that as a sign of things to come....

The two young actors would quickly become one of Hollywood's power couples. Sutherland moved into Roberts's Hollywood Hills home, and the future seemed bright for the superstar duo. In 1991, Pretty Woman would net Julia Roberts her second Oscar nomination and her second Golden Globe win, this time for Best Actress. But behind-the-scenes, things were not as they appeared.

Kiefer Sutherland's struggles with alcohol began to put a strain on the relationship. At one point he ended up moving out of their shared mansion and into a seedy motel, supposedly to help prepare him for an upcoming role. During that time, he was seen in the company of a 24-year-old go-go dancer named Amanda Rice.

He returned home after a few weeks, and everything seemed to return to normal. But that wouldn't last.

Three months later, in May of 1991, Amanda Rice sold the story of their affair to the tabloid Globe. In the published story, she claimed Sutherland told her that her role in Pretty Woman turned Roberts into "an ice princess" who was overly possessive and insecure about her looks.

After the story broke, Sutherland's team worked on damage control, saying that while he knew Rice, their relationship was neither sexual nor romantic. Two days later, Roberts was admitted to Cedar-Sinai Hospital for "a bad bout of the flu."

During her five-day stay, Sutherland was seen visiting her often. They seemed to have worked through their issues, as almost immediately after leaving the hospital the couple announced their engagement, with the wedding to follow four weeks later on June 14, 1991.

The wedding was set to be a lavish affair. The 150-guest ceremony was to take place at 20th Century Fox's Soundstage 14, which had been decorated to look like a massive garden. Bundles of roses were to serve as centerpieces, and guests would be served gourmet beef filets and champagne.

Roberts had chosen a custom-made gown that reportedly cost $8,000, and their planned cake was a four-tier monster decked out with violets and sea-foam green icing. Everything seemed to be ready for the fairy tale wedding of two of Hollywood's finest. Then, three days before they were set to say "I do," everything fell apart.

Roberts called off the wedding, and ended things with Sutherland. Reportedly, he found out not from his former bride-to-be, but from a mutual friend who called to tell him her decision.

On what would have been his wedding day, Kiefer Sutherland moved from their mansion to his own apartment. The would-be bride, on the other hand, spent it eating a turkey burger with a different '80s heartthrob, Jason Patric. The same Jason Patric who was supposedly still friends with his fellow Lost Boys co-star, Kiefer Sutherland. Ouch.

Warner Bros.

Apparently, while Sutherland was making sure their honeymoon getaway was ready, Roberts headed to Canyon Ranch spa with some friends for some R & R before the wedding. The same Canyon Ranch spa where one Jason Patric would arrive that same day, and reportedly be seen eating dinner with, and comforting the actress.

This supposedly led to Sutherland uninviting Patric to the wedding, which kicked off an argument with him and his future wife. It was clearly, however, too little, too late, as the wedding was called off and Roberts jetted off to Ireland alongside Jason Patric. Understandably, the press went wild.

Upon their return, they made their relationship public. But their romance wasn't meant to last either, as they'd break things off the following year.

Roberts would go on to marry Lyle Lovett in 1993, later divorcing him in 1995. She also dated Benjamin Bratt from 1998 to 2001, before eventually marrying cameraman Daniel Moder in 2002. The two are still together and have three children.

Rolling Stone / Zimbio / People

Kiefer Sutherland, meanwhile, would marry Kelly Winn, though they would separate in 1999 before filing for divorce in 2004. He also dated Bo Derek during the 2000s. He recently made his relationship with Cindy Vela public, though the two have reportedly been dating in secret since 2014.

Hello! / Daily Express / Daily Mail

Kiefer Sutherland has made it clear that he has no hard feelings over being left at the altar. In a 2016 interview with People's Jess Cagle, he said "I think it took a lot of courage, even amongst all of that other stuff, to be able to say, 'I can't do this.'"

As for his feelings towards Jason Patric, he told Rolling Stone in 2006, "We were friends, and I'm surprised that I never got a call from him saying I've fallen in love with da-da-da. Instead, I found out from a stranger."


Though more recently, it seems they have smoothed things over. In 2011 they were co-stars once again in the Broadway revival of That Championship Season (coincidentally written by Patric's father, Jason Miller). In an interview, Jason Patric told Vulture "We had drinks last night and he said that was one of the best summers of his life when we did Lost Boys...and wow, 25, a quarter-century later there’s Kiefer and now he’s playing my brother. Something interesting about it as far as the cosmos go.

Despite the scandal, at least everything turned out ok, in the end.

h/t: People/Yahoo