Eric Roberts has had a prolific career, appearing in over 487 film and TV projects. But it almost didn’t happen.
A one-time “It” actor, Roberts derailed his up-and-coming career with drug use that cost him his relationship with his sister, Julia Roberts.
“I wouldn’t characterize it as a falling-out.…,” he tells Vanity Fair of the estrangement. “I was crazy about my sisters. Loved them, adored them. They were precious to me, and we had times of great closeness. We all felt very protective of each other, but the hardest person to protect yourself from is yourself.”
But the actor admits his drug use created a rift between him and sister Julia.
“I was exhausting to be around … Complainy, blamey, unable to enjoy enjoyment. Everyone in my world needed a break sometimes, and that must have included Julia,” he says. Eric eventually beat his cocaine addiction in 2010 and later appeared on “Celebrity Rehab” to curb his marijuana addiction.
It would take years for the siblings to become close again. Eric and Julia eventually reconciled in 2004 after Eric visited his sister in the hospital after the birth of her twins. He remains a very proud sibling of his sister’s accomplishments and those of his daughter — “American Horror Story” actress Emma Roberts — but he makes it clear that he was the first of the family to make a name for himself in Hollywood.
“If it wasn’t for me, there would be no Julia Roberts and no Emma Roberts as celebrities, as actresses, and I’m very proud of that,” he says. “And I am so proud that everybody knows I was first, because I was first by a long shot. I was first to get Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations, so I’m proud of that.”
Roberts’ career has been on an upswing since appearing on “Celebrity Rehab” — a rarity. Last year alone he appeared in 74 varied projects, including a guest role on “Grey’s Anatomy” and dozens of direct-to-streaming releases. The busy work pace seems to suit the actor.
“I started having fun at the craft. I’m a f**king groupie for it! I can do it every day, all day,” he explains. “And so suddenly it’s like, 250 movies, and I realize, I went from being a joke that’ll do anything to being ‘Is there anything he can’t do?‘”