More than 25 years later, Kiefer Sutherland is opening up about his relationship with Julia Roberts.

The couple met on the set of 1990’s “Flatliners” and began dating shortly after Roberts ended her engagement to Dylan McDermott and Sutherland’s divorce to Camelia Kath was finalized.  After years of dating, Sutherland, then 24, and Roberts, 23, nearly made it to the altar in 1994 before the actress pulled the plug, three days ahead of their scheduled wedding.  Now, the 49-year-old Sutherland is looking back at the tumultuous time with praise for his former flame.

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“I think she was being realistic for herself,” he tells People in a new interview. “I think that’s much better.”

The “Designated Survivor” star points to the pressures of fame and their youth as one of the leading causes behind their public split.

“We were young and we were both very much in love, we had decided that we wanted to get married, but then this other thing kind of took over,” he explains. “She was arguably the most famous woman in the world, and this wedding that was supposed to be something between the two of us became something so big.”

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With the spotlight trained on the young couple, Sutherland cites Roberts’ courage to walk away from their relationship, despite immense public scrutiny.

“Then, in the middle of that, I think she had the courage – it wasn’t what she wanted to do, in the end,” he adds. “I think it took a lot of courage, even amongst all of that other stuff, to be able to say, ‘I can’t do this.'”