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Daniel Moder and Julia Roberts | Julia Roberts with two of her kids | Julia Roberts | Sources: Getty Images | Instagram/juliaroberts | Instagram/modermoder
Daniel Moder and Julia Roberts | Julia Roberts with two of her kids | Julia Roberts | Sources: Getty Images | Instagram/juliaroberts | Instagram/modermoder

Julia Roberts Is Living Her Dream with Kids & Spouse of 22 Years at Rustic Ranch after Becoming Mom at 39

Taitirwa Sehliselwe Murape
Jul 04, 2024
01:09 P.M.

Julia Roberts managed to build a strong marriage with her cinematographer husband, and they've been married for over 2 decades. She also put motherhood ahead of her career, pausing it for 20 years when she was almost 40. The star lives an ordinary life with her family on a rural ranch where she secretly married her spouse.

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In the early spring of 2000, Julia Roberts met her now-husband, Daniel Moder, a cameraman, on the set of "The Mexican." However, both were in relationships at the time. While the actress was dating fellow actor Benjamin Bratt, Daniel was married to makeup artist Vera Steimberg Moder, whom he was with for four years.

Some people close to the cinematographer's family said his marriage to his ex-wife was strained, but the bond he started building with Julia pushed him to file for divorce from Vera in June 2001.

Daniel Moder and Julia Roberts on the set of "Mona Lisa Smile" on November 21, 2002. | Source: Getty Images

Daniel Moder and Julia Roberts on the set of "Mona Lisa Smile" on November 21, 2002. | Source: Getty Images

Meanwhile, the "Pretty Woman" star was a frequent patron of the restaurants and shops near her lower Manhattan apartment when she was dating Benjamin, but things changed after they broke up. When she began seeing Daniel after his divorce, she was rarely seen at her usual spots.

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Julia Roberts and Benjamin Bratt at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, California in 2001. | Source: Getty Images

Julia Roberts and Benjamin Bratt at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, California in 2001. | Source: Getty Images

The pair, who'd become romantic, divided their time between Julia's more than $5 million Taos ranch and Daniel's Los Angeles apartment. The actress bought the ranch in 1995 as a retreat from Hollywood life.

Julia Roberts and her husband Danny Moder leave the "Punch-Drunk Love" screening during the 10th Annual New York Film Festival in New York City on October 5, 2002 | Source: Getty Images

Julia Roberts and her husband Danny Moder leave the "Punch-Drunk Love" screening during the 10th Annual New York Film Festival in New York City on October 5, 2002 | Source: Getty Images

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The star lived a simple life at the ranch where she'd walk her many dogs, bond with neighbors, get takeout at Taos Cow, or dance and make out in the evening with Daniel at the Alley Cantina. It seemed the couple's relationship was more than a fleeting romance.

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Julia's alleged friend described the couple as loving, solid, and nonjudgmental. Speaking about his experience with Julia when they were still dating, Benjamin, who married Talisa Soto, his "Piñero" co-star, in May 2002, mentioned how he never liked the fame Julia had.

He once told Vanity Fair, "It's like a fly that won't leave you alone; it's that mosquito that buzzes in your ear when you're trying to sleep at night."

Benjamin Bratt and Julia Roberts at the 73rd Annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles, California in 2001. | Source: Getty Images

Benjamin Bratt and Julia Roberts at the 73rd Annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles, California in 2001. | Source: Getty Images

However, according to a friend, Daniel was different because he liked every "facet" of who Julia was and accepted it. The friend described the cameraman as supportive and as someone who celebrated the actress for who she was.

Julia Roberts and Daniel Moder at\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\u00a0Heal The Bay's Bring Back The Beach Fundraiser on May 17, 2012, in Santa Monica, California | Source: Getty Images

Julia Roberts and Daniel Moder at\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\u00a0Heal The Bay's Bring Back The Beach Fundraiser on May 17, 2012, in Santa Monica, California | Source: Getty Images

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At the time, Daniel wasn't as famous as Julia, and it wasn't typical for a celebrity of her caliber to date what could be deemed a "simple man." As a result, tabloids discussed their romance, but the pair's love was firm, and Daniel proved he was ready to live with her fame for life.

Julia Roberts and Daniel Moder's Surprise Private Wedding Ceremony

On July 4, 2002, Julia invited friends to her ranch for what they believed was a late-night drink to "celebrate Independence Day." People flew from Los Angeles, Manhattan, and Atlanta to the star's 82-acre New Mexico home.

An aerial view of Julia Roberts' Taos, New Mexico ranch, seen on July 6, 2002. | Source: Getty Images

An aerial view of Julia Roberts' Taos, New Mexico ranch, seen on July 6, 2002. | Source: Getty Images

That afternoon, the guests spent hours by the actress's swimming pool, eating homemade turkey cooked by Julia and playing basketball and football. Some people wanted to sleep at night, but a friend recalled how the star urged them to stay put.

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When midnight came, the small group sat on lawn chairs arranged in a semicircle in a small religious meeting house on the property. It was decorated with beautiful Chinese lanterns and candles that gave off a romantic setting.

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Daniel and Julia suddenly walked onto an arch made from white and pink silk sheaths. They walked to a circle scattered with red, white, and pink rose petals, and that's when it dawned on most of the guests what exactly was about to happen.

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People started cheering as they realized what was happening! The cameraman got down on one knee and proposed to the actress, and she responded by placing her hands on her heart and saying "yes" as the crowd chanted the word along with her!

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Julia Roberts and Daniel Moder at Heal The Bay's "Bring Back The Beach" Annual Awards Presentation & Dinner in Santa Monica, California on May 17, 2012 | Source: Getty Images

Julia Roberts and Daniel Moder at Heal The Bay's "Bring Back The Beach" Annual Awards Presentation & Dinner in Santa Monica, California on May 17, 2012 | Source: Getty Images

A friend said the whole thing was intimate and magical, leaving them feeling like they were eavesdropping. The then 34-year-old star and the 33-year-old cameraman's private ceremony was officiated by Barry Hirsch, Julia's lawyer and longtime friend.

Daniel Moder and Julia Roberts at Heal The Bay's "Bring Back The Beach" Annual Awards Presentation & Dinner in Santa Monica, California on May 17, 2012 | Source: Getty Images

Daniel Moder and Julia Roberts at Heal The Bay's "Bring Back The Beach" Annual Awards Presentation & Dinner in Santa Monica, California on May 17, 2012 | Source: Getty Images

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The simple ceremony had no groomsmen, bridesmaids, flower girls, glamorous additions, and celebrity guests. Julia was stunning in a pink cotton halter dress decorated with antique beads and pearls, including hand-painted flowers.

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The groom looked dashing in his red ruffled shirt and tan pants as he and Julia exchanged handwritten vows in the 20-minute ceremony. In between, someone broke a glass, causing a guest to shout, "'Mazel Tov!'" leading to laughter!

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The loving couple kissed throughout their ceremony and kept asking their guests if they could! After the lovebirds' marriage ceremony was done, the actress partially paused her budding career for 20 years and once lovingly said, "I was born to be the wife of this man."

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Julia couldn't have been more right about Daniel because he made her second marriage even better! The star became a mother later in life and prioritized it above her career.

Julia Roberts' Children with Daniel Moder

About two years into their marriage, Julia's spokesperson revealed that she and her husband were having twins that were expected in early 2005. However, on November 28, 2004, twins Hazel and Phinnaues Moder were born when their mother was 37.

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The actress explained that she and Daniel had chosen the name "Hazel" for their daughter because it was old-fashioned. She also shared how Daniel wanted to call their son "Finn," but it felt more like a nickname, so they opted for Phinnaues as his full one.

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In 2006, People magazine noted how motherhood had been a "top priority" for Julia. Speaking to the publication in April of that same year, Marc Platt, the "Three Days of Rain" producer and the actress' friend, said, "The kids bring her such a sense of fulfillment and joy."

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Marc also shared how it was a "wonderful" thing to see. In December 2006, the actress confirmed that she was expecting her third child, and at 39, she welcomed a son named Henry Daniel Moder the following year.

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The little boy weighed 8½ pounds when he was born in Los Angeles and Julia's representative, Marcy Engelman, said the family was doing well. The star and her husband lived a quiet and everyday life on the ranch with their children.

Julia Roberts and Daniel Moder's Quiet Life on the Ranch and Her Journey into Motherhood

In 2013, USA Today noted that Julia didn't share many photos of her children on Instagram, but her husband gladly did. She also didn't post where she was on Twitter, and when a friend gave the actress a copy of J.D. Salinger's short stories, she showed how down to Earth she was.

Julia Roberts' Taos, New Mexico ranch home seen on July 4, 2002. | Source: Getty Images

Julia Roberts' Taos, New Mexico ranch home seen on July 4, 2002. | Source: Getty Images

The publication said the star physically wrote a thank you note on paper that went straight to the friend. Despite having once been the world's highest-paid actress, Julia was able to disappear from the public.

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She would go to either of her homes in New Mexico, California, or Manhattan. Julia once explained that how she and Daniel lived was all structured to help them protect their children, adding, "We just want to have our family life and not have that intruded upon."

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The cameraman's wife also said she thought she was lucky because she was too old for the silliness that came with the internet and the current celebrity culture. She was grateful for that and thought her age helped her avoid certain things.

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During a 2010 "The Oprah Winfrey Show" interview, Julia spoke about how she loved waking up early and seeing her children's reactions to receiving a brand new day. She said the trio was still at an age where everything impressed them.

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The "Eat, Pray, Love" actress also shared how she tried her best to be "present" for all three children. The star also once revealed on "Today" that she reveled in life and jokingly noted how her biggest win daily was when all her children made it to "the potty!"

According to a 2022 Architectural Digest piece, Julia's well-known home was her Taos ranch. The publication revealed that the property was near the community of Arroyo Seco and was kept as the star's second home.

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It was reported that the "Erin Brockovich" actress, her husband, and their children often spent time on the estate. The Southwest locals allegedly frequently bumped into Julia at Target or the grocery store, and she was also a dedicated wife who met up with her husband from his workplace.

In 2017 while being interviewed by InStyle, the actress shared her motherhood journey. She shared how she couldn't survive without Balmex when her children were infants to help fight diaper rash.

An aerial view of Julia Robert's Taos, New Mexico ranch seen on July 6, 2002. | Source: Getty Images

An aerial view of Julia Robert's Taos, New Mexico ranch seen on July 6, 2002. | Source: Getty Images

The "Wonder" star showed what an ordinary person she was, said she loved the product's smell, couldn't live without it, and described it as "perfect."

When asked what she'd do if she saw a child doing something they shouldn't be doing on the playground, Julia's answer was diplomatic; she stated, "It would depend on what they're doing, but I would imagine I would say something."

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Her idea was to give the child a clue that what they were doing wasn't right. What the interviewer didn't expect was when the actress hilariously quickly added, "and then trip them!"

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When asked what the most effective way was to alert a child that they'd crossed a line and would need to face the consequences, the star suggested using one's stern parenting voice. However, once things on the emotional side quietened, she urged for a "conscious conversation" about what happened.

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Julia's tip for extending family bonding time at the table was to have everybody sit down for dinner at the table. Daniel's wife felt it was meaningful and revealed that she and her family had the most profound conversations during that time.

In one of Danny's social media posts, his children were photographed enjoying a meal in what appeared to be a cozy room with wooden furniture and a dense rug on natural flooring. Hazel and her brother both wore outfits that bore the Wonder Woman logo.

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Delving a little deeper into her private life, the star said she ensured to have breakfast and dinner with her children. In that way, she felt they were starting things together as a family, processing that day's events and winding it down as a unit.

Julia Robert's Taos, New Mexico ranch seen on July 6, 2002. | Source: Getty Images

Julia Robert's Taos, New Mexico ranch seen on July 6, 2002. | Source: Getty Images

Julia also shared that she thought the right age to get a cell phone for her children was 12 because that was when Hazel got hers. However, Julia confessed how she and Daniel hadn't been sure about gifting the phone to the child, but Hazel's reasons for wanting it were straightforward and honest.

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The actress explained that Hazel didn't give her parents a PowerPoint presentation (although she'd pulled that trick before!) to sway them but used vulnerable honesty instead. The little girl just stated what her needs were. In response, Hazel's mom stated, "I was too in love with her in that moment I was like, 'we've got to get her a cell phone!'"

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She also shared how she dealt with separation anxiety by taking her children with her whenever she needed to be out of the home. In October 2020, during a Sunday Morning interview, Daniel's wife opened up about what was important in her life at age 55.

The star told her interviewer that her family and career were essential to her but explained that they were not equally important. Julia shared how being an actress never "consumed" her.

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Explaining herself further, she revealed that acting was a "dream come true" for her but that it wasn't the only dream she had that became a reality. When questioned about her other objectives, the mother of three pointed to her family, saying, "The life that I've built with my husband."

Julia Roberts also shared how the life they built with their three children made the cut. She described the things she mentioned as the best ones, noting how coming home triumphantly to her family at the end of the day was everything to her.

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