Growing up in the shadow of the star known as Pretty Woman cannot be easy.
But it is even tougher when you are known as her ‘fat little sister’.
Julia Roberts’ youngest sibling Nancy Motes claims taunts from the Hollywood star drove her to weight loss surgery.
Miss Motes, 37, who tried unsuccessfully to make it as a film actress herself, said Miss Roberts, 45, made her feel embarrassed and ashamed of her weight, which peaked at 20st.
She got so tired of being known as ‘Julia Roberts’ fat little sister’ that she resorted to a ₤20,000 (Dh113,800) gastric band operation last year.
Miss Motes, whose other siblings Eric Roberts, 57, and Lisa Roberts Gillan, 48, are also movie actors, said: “It makes me feel incredibly hurt and very sad.
“‘When you’re in a family of very, very exceptionally beautiful people it’s intimidating.”
“I think that growing up as Pretty Woman’s little sister has definitely made me try to see the person inside and not the person outside. A lot of my life I felt judged for my weight.”
Miss Motes, who grew up in the US state of Georgia, was only 13 when Miss Roberts shot to Hollywood fame as call girl Vivian Ward in Pretty Woman.
The actress, who had won a Golden Globe for playing a young bride in Steel Magnolias, received a second for Pretty Woman. Miss Motes, who described herself as an ‘awkward’ child who was bullied at school, could not compete with the success of her ‘very pretty and very popular’ sister.
She said: “When I was in high school and she was an adult, she would just let me know that I was definitely overweight. She would make it quite clear to me and in a not-so-nice manner. Julia did not want to see me go down that path [of acting] So I just got a lot of criticism from Julia, which was very discouraging for me.’
After graduating from high school in 1995, Miss Motes, now a production assistant on TV show Glee, auditioned for roles in Hollywood while working as a waitress. But she could not afford to continue so returned to Georgia.
Three years ago Miss Motes moved back to Los Angeles, after meeting her fiance John Dilbeck. But she claims Miss Roberts started taunting her about her weight again days after she arrived. With her weight soaring, she finally decided to have a gastric band fitted.
Miss Motes could not afford the ₤20,000 fee, but rather than ask Miss Roberts, who is worth ₤90million, for financial help, she took out a loan.
She has lost 7st since the operation last June and plans to marry in May, but her relationship with her sister remains unsettled and she is unsure whether Miss Roberts will be at the wedding.
She said: “It’s a work in progress, it’s not going to be fixed overnight, nor do I think it’s going to be fixed by me just getting skinny.”