The rumours have been persisting for quite some time now, as one of Hollywood's seemingly most stable marriages was thought to be on the rocks. But Julia Roberts (50) has firmly quashed any suggestions that she and her husband Danny Moder are on the verge of splitting up.
In a rare, candid interview last week, she had nothing but praise for the cinematographer she has been married to for 16 years. "You know what? He's an awesome human being. We have so much fun," she gushed.
The Oscar winner also shared a photo on Instagram of herself hugging Danny on a beach, captioning it, "Oh summer, thank you! You made us happy and brave. We embraced every moment of sun-drenched JOY."
Julia doesn't usually talk very much about her husband or their children – twins Phinnaeus and Hazel (13) and 11-year-old Henry – but when she does, she finds it hard to hold back her admiration for Danny, who she met when they were working on the movie The Mexican in 2000.
Last year, she said that before Danny came into her life, she was a "selfish little brat, running around making films. I was my priority." But that meeting her "person" changed everything.
"When I think about what makes my life my life, and just makes sense, and just shines inside of me, it's him. Everything has come from that."
However, behind the scenes, there have been plenty of ups and downs in the pair's relationship, say friends, and there were serious concerns given they weren't seen together in public for nine months after attending a party at Oprah Winfrey's home last October.
The couple's issues are largely due to the fact that Danny (49) feels like he is often in his movie star wife's shadow, says a pal.
"They have been at odds over his desire to wear the pants in the family and what he saw as her controlling ways."
They have also clashed over the fact that Danny likes to go off to exotic locations on surfing trips with his friends, which Julia is not happy about, especially as she has to be away so often herself for work. These days she tries to work on films that won't take her away from her family for so long, such as the Amazon series Homecoming, which was shot close to their abode in Los Angeles.
She has also been urging Danny not to travel so much without the family, and as a thoughtful gesture, arranged a trip to Fiji with his friends in June.
"Julia organised a healing surf trip to Fiji, which she saw as a chance to fix their floundering relationship," says the insider.
"She knew it would be a great way to thank Danny for being her rock. "They took off for a week to Tavarua Island, a family-friendly surf resort known for its world-class waves, with some friends of Danny's, their spouses and their kids. Julia flew most of the group out on her plane and they had the whole island to themselves."
Julia had previously come up with an even more expensive way to try to keep Danny from heading around the globe to surf by buying a beachfront property for him to use exclusively as a "surf shack".
In June 2017, it was reported that she had paid almost $6 million for an ordinary three-bedroom home in the upmarket Malibu neighbourhood of Point Dume. It's the third house she's bought in the neighbourhood – she owns a $15 million craftsman-style property on top of a bluff that is the family's main home and a $10.5 million house directly across the street from it.
The house over the street was initially thought to be for visiting family members, but one insider says it's where Danny stays when he and Julia aren't getting on.
The recently purchased house down the road is very basic, but its attraction is the fact that it is next to one of Malibu's best private surf beaches, Little Dume.
"She's hoping the purchase of the most expensive surf shack in Malibu will help her marriage by keeping Danny from going away on extended surf trips," a source said at the time, adding they weren't sure how successful the purchase would be.
"As beautiful as Little Dume is, riding the same waves can get monotonous, so the novelty will probably be short-lived and he'll still have an itch to go to exotic locations with his wave-riding buddies."
Julia has also bought a black Labrador puppy, named Brown, as a surprise for Danny and the kids.
"She felt like it would bring them together as a family," says the friend. This year, Julia has done "everything in her power to fix their marriage," including "learning to give up the control that has caused so many problems," says the source.
"Julia pulled out all the stops to show Danny how much she values him and their relationship. It's managed to pull them back from the brink."
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