Julia Roberts’ Danny Moder
14-year marriage to unravels. The truth about what went wrong
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.