Did Julia Roberts keep her mother and sister apart?

NEW YORK - MAY 05:  (LtoR) Actress Julia Roberts arrives to the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala, Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy, held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 5, 2008 in New York City.  (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
Julia Roberts’ new movie “August: Osage County” may have nothing on family drama. Credit: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Julia Roberts is nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her work in the dysfunctional family drama “August: Osage County.” What’s going on in her real family suggests she’s had plenty of practice in the genre.

Roberts’ younger half-sister, Nancy Motes, 37, tragically committed suicide last weekend using prescription pills. The two sisters have long had a fraught relationship: Last summer Motes, who is the daughter of Roberts’ mother Betty Lou Motes and former stepfather Robert Motes, gave a candid interview in which she claimed that her movie star big sister bullied her over her weight when she was growing up.

Motes reportedly left a suicide note in which she said she felt “totally abandoned” by her older sister, according to the Daily News. A friend of Nancy’s says the sisters’ relationship had gone downhill of late, and that Roberts had denied Nancy access to their mother in revenge for her remarks to the press.

“Nancy was very close with her mom, and when they changed the locks and (later) relocated her, it was devastating to Nancy,” Nancy’s friend Jerem Hutcheson told the Daily News.

Roberts’ camp has a different take, though: Sources close to the star claim that Nancy had a drug problem, and that Nancy’s public attacks on her sister were her way of lashing out when Julia tried to get her help.


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