Julia Roberts revealed the unique story of her birth: Dr. Martin Luther King and his wife Coretta Scott King paid her parents’ hospital bill after she was born.
During a September interview with Gayle King for the History Channel’s HISTORYTalks series, Roberts opened up about her family’s unexpected connection to two historical figures.
“The King family paid my hospital bills,” Roberts said.
“Not my family,” Gail King joked, since she has the same last name as the human rights activist. “Martin Luther King, Jr.”
Roberts explained that her parents, Walter and Betty Lou Roberts, owned a theater school in Atlanta called the Actors and Writers Workshop. Coretta Scott King asked if her children could be enrolled in the school because they were having trouble finding other places that would accept her children.
“And so they all just became friends and helped us out,” said Roberts, who was born Oct. 28, 1967 and turned 55 last week.
“Yeah, because in the ’60s there weren’t little black kids interacting with little white kids in acting school,” said Gayle King, who also hosts “CBS Mornings.” “And your parents said, ‘Come in.’ And I think that’s extraordinary, and it sets the foundation for who you are.”
Dr. Martin Luther King came from Atlanta and became one of the most famous civil rights leaders in the United States. Through nonviolent protests, Martin Luther King helped lead the movement for the rights of people of color. Less than six months after Roberts’ birth, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, prompting a national day of mourning.
The interview went viral this week after business consultant Zara Rahim tweeted it in honor of Roberts on her recent birthday.
Bernice King, the youngest daughter of Coretta Scott and Martin Luther King Jr., also posted a clip of the interview on Sunday, saying she was “grateful” that Roberts told the story and that “so many people were excited about it. “
“I know this story well, but I am concerned about being reminded of my parents’ generosity and influence,” she added.
The HISTORYTalks series began in 2019 and each year features live conversations with several high-profile speakers. This year, former President George W. Bush, former First Lady Laura Bush, and George and Amal Clooney were among the speakers.