Julia Roberts speaks candidly about her husband, holiday traditions and co-star Nicole Kidman

By Dagmar Dunlevy

For an actress as talented and popular as Julia Roberts, the career possibilities are endless – including roles that were originally intended for men. In her latest film, Secret in Their Eyes, (adapted from a 2009 Argentine movie and 2005 novel), Julia, 48, portrays a ruthless detective who seeks out the murderer who devastated her family. The Oscar winner jumped at the challenge – and the opportunity to work on the film with her cinematographer husband of 13 years, Danny Moder, with whom she has three children, twins Hazel and Phinnaeus, 10, and eight-year-old Henry. Here, Julia opens up about life on-set with her husband and co-star Nicole Kidman, how she helps her Hollywood marriage thrive and why she’s looking forward to baking with her kids over the holidays.

Secret in Their Eyes is Julia and husband Danny's seventh movie together. Photo: © Getty Images

In the film, you play a character initially written for a man. How did you end up taking on this role?
I was sent the script and [director Billy Ray] asked me to read it. He pointed out it was written for a man right now, but if I was interested they would change it. And I said, “Yes!”

What was your experience like working with Nicole Kidman?
I will say to start with that I do think she’s perfect, so everything I say is clouded by that absolute fact that I have about Nicole Kidman! I’ve known Nicole a little bit for a really long time and I can’t believe it took this long to get together, and then really, it was just kind of a horrible tease because we really weren’t together that much. We spent more time in the makeup trailer together than we did on the set. I like to think of this as a warm-up to some movie that takes six months to shoot and we’re together every day. She’s so talented and she is sickeningly stunning, and all those things really do pale in comparison to her humanness and how incredibly warm she is.

In her new film, Julia plays opposite Chiwetel Ejiofor and "perfect" Nicole Kidman. Photo: © eOne

Is it great to get to work with your husband, Danny?
It does change things. I mean, it’s exciting and it’s definitely nice – especially on like my first day shooting, there was a scene in my house with Chiwetel [Ejiofor] where I am just sobbing. It was nice to know [Danny] was in the house that day, and I think it was the most fulfilling for me in working with him. I won’t speak for him though. I’m sure it was really fulfilling working with me! [Laughs] He’s really good at his job. He works really hard. He’s very devoted.

What's your secret to a happy marriage?
I don’t know if I can speak to marriage per se so much as marriage to my husband, which I don’t recommend for anyone but me! [Laughs] But I think it’s just about really being committed. A girlfriend of mine said a great thing one time. She has also been married for a very long time and she said that she’d heard this quote: “If you want an interesting relationship, stay in one.” And that, I think, is so true because 15 years later, I find the continuous excavation of our relationship and our family fascinating. So that’s the real key – to stay invested and interested in your partner.

You’ve always had a green thumb. What do you like to grow at your home in Malibu?
We eat everything we grow in the garden. At the moment, I think all we have is beets and tomatoes and lettuce. Then we have a pair of avocado trees that are very generous, and our chickens – eggs from our chickens, yeah!

With the holidays approaching, what traditions do you keep?
We always make tons of Christmas cookies – that’s something fun before Christmas to do with the kids. And all the icing and sprinkles – the enormous bomb that goes off in the kitchen of colours and [decorations], that’s always fun! We have kind of basic Christmas morning traditions. We make a lot of food and a fire and [have] our Christmas tree and friends coming over, so it’s a pretty cozy holiday for us.

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