Ju­lia Roberts’ Danny Moder

14-year mar­riage to un­rav­els. The truth about what went wrong

In Touch (USA) - - Cover story -

I t was a very un­usual re­quest. Ju­lia Roberts was set to co-host a Nov. 7 spe­cial screen­ing of the buzzy new drama Moon­light along­side one of its pro­duc­ers, her old pal Brad Pitt, and was sur­prised when her hus­band, Danny Moder, said he wanted to come along. “Danny rarely ac­com­pa­nies Ju­lia to screen­ings or pre­mieres,” ex­plains a friend. “They hardly do any­thing to­gether, for that mat­ter.”

That in­cludes live to­gether. “Ju­lia and Danny have, for the most part, been liv­ing in sep­a­rate houses,” the friend tells In Touch. “He’s been stay­ing at a smaller home they own across the street from their main Mal­ibu res­i­dence for a while now.” So when Danny, 47, ex­pressed in­ter­est in the screen­ing, the friend says Ju­lia, 49, was sus­pi­cious. “She felt he only wanted to go to the in­dus­try gath­er­ing to net­work and rub el­bows with pro­duc­ers and agents,” says the friend, adding that Ju­lia told Danny not to join her. It’s all part of how their re­la­tion­ship has un­rav­eled and the friend adds that a di­vorce an­nounce­ment is ex­pected.

They’re both ready to face the truth and put an end to the drama. “The screen­ing with Brad is just the lat­est in a series of out­ings that point to Ju­lia and Danny liv­ing in­creas­ingly sep­a­rate lives,” ex­plains the friend (see side­bar). She and Danny have been fight­ing non­stop since the sum­mer, when they had a huge blowup on a fam­ily va­ca­tion in Hawaii, says the friend. “They swam in the ocean, went shop­ping with the kids [twins Hazel and Phin­naeus, 12, and son Henry, 9] and even spent time with Danny’s fam­ily, who joined them for the first part of the trip,” the friend told In Touch at the time. But when the in-laws left, “The true na­ture of their mar­riage was ex­posed,” adds the friend. “They con­stantly bick­ered and their tem­pers were out of con­trol.”

Af­ter 14 years of mar­riage, they’ve come to re­al­ize how dif­fer­ent they are. “This was less ap­par­ent when Ju­lia was work­ing on movies steadily,” adds the friend. “But now that she’s home more, the re­al­ity of the dis­mal state of their re­la­tion­ship started to be­come some­thing she could no longer ig­nore. And when Danny started try­ing to get more and more jobs that took him away from home, she re­al­ized it was in part to break free from her and the con­trol she tried to as­sert over him.”

At the screen­ing, Ju­lia leaned on Brad. “She was her ef­fer­ves­cent self for the cam­eras,” says the friend. “But pri­vately she was up­set and con­fided in Brad about her mar­riage. She knew he’d un­der­stand be­cause he’s go­ing through his di­vorce with An­gelina [Jolie] right now. They were there for one an­other.”

Ju­lia and Danny love each other, but they’re at a cross­roads. “There was a time when Ju­lia would have done any­thing to save her mar­riage,” says the friend. “But now, un­less they can find some mir­a­cle fi x for their re­la­tion­ship, she’s done. The next step is di­vorce court.” ◼


edly earns $220,000 a day thanks to her suc­cess­ful talk show, act­ing ca­reer, en­dorse­ments and in­vest­ments (see side­bar). “Ellen and Por­tia have a prenup, but there are many loop­holes, be­cause Ellen was never wor­ried about Por­tia tak­ing her money,” says the in­sider. “Ellen’s made the bulk of her for­tune while they’ve been mar­ried, so she has a lot to lose if the prenup isn’t iron­clad. Por­tia can eas­ily take her to the clean­ers, and why wouldn’t she? Por­tia be­lieves the wealth Ellen has ac­cu­mu­lated is a huge fac­tor in why they have so many prob­lems.” (A sec­ond in­sider close to the cou­ple doesn’t think Ellen and Por­tia even have a prenup).

Por­tia is tired of Ellen call­ing all the shots. “Por­tia can prove that Ellen made her turn down many lu­cra­tive jobs while they were to­gether,” says the in­sider, ex­plain­ing that Ellen would pre­fer Por­tia — a once-in­de­mand tele­vi­sion ac­tress who’s only en­joyed small roles on Scan­dal and the Ar­rested De­vel­op­ment Net­flix re­boot in re­cent years — be an old-fash­ioned stay-at-home wife. “Be­lieve me, there’s a lot of dirty laun­dry that Ellen would surely pay to keep from get­ting out. Por­tia def­i­nitely has the up­per hand. There are mil­lions of dol­lars at stake here, and Por­tia knows that bet­ter than any­one.”

What was the fi­nal straw? “It was twofold,” ex­plains the in­sider. “Ellen’s ob­ses­sion with con­trol­ling Por­tia’s per­sonal life and ca­reer, and then Ellen’s in­sis­tence on not start­ing a fam­ily. That’s the big­gest hur­dle they can’t seem to over­come — Por­tia wanted chil­dren and Ellen didn’t.”

It’s go­ing to be a painful split. “More for Ellen than Por­tia,” says the in­sider. “Ellen is su­per inse­cure, and if Por­tia goes through with this di­vorce it will to­tally dev­as­tate her. Ellen would not only be heart­bro­ken and hu­mil­i­ated but her world would be com­pletely shat­tered. I don’t see Ellen re­cov­er­ing quickly, if at all.” ◼

On Nov. 7, nearly a week af­ter he failed to come home and stopped re­turn­ing Scheana’s calls, Mike posted a mes­sage to fans claim­ing to be “happy” and “sober,” in­sist­ing that he’ll “al­ways love” his wife.

CON­STANT FIGHT­ING “It’s not the peace­ful and tran­quil home life that Ellen por­trays,” says an in­sider. “Far from it.”


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