Dermot Mulroney talks about his long relationship with Julia Roberts since meeting on their audition for My Best Friend's Wedding

By Stephanie Petit
Updated June 05, 2016 11:10 AM
Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Although Julia Roberts was already on Hollywood’s A-list when she auditioned for the 1997 film My Best Friend’s Wedding, her costar Dermot Mulroney just thought of her as another screen partner.

“First time I met her was in the audition for My Best Friend s Wedding. To be honest with you, I d never seen her in a movie previous to that either,” Mulroney told PEOPLE on Saturday at Spike TV’s Guys Choice Awards in Culver City, California. “But we all knew she was a star when we laid eyes on her, when she was a teenager in her first movies, Mystic Pizza, Pretty Woman. I never saw those movies until after I worked with her years later.”

Perhaps it was because Mulroney wasn’t intimidated by Roberts’ success that the two have managed to remain close pals, even nearly two decades later.

VIDEO: Pretty Woman to Erin Brockovich, See Julia Roberts’s Most Iconic Roles

Mulroney, 52, presented Roberts, 48, with the “Woman Of The Decade” Award at the Guys Choice Awards, where Roberts embraced both Mulroney and his wife, Tharita Mulroney, backstage before the actors chatted with Robert De Niro.

Professionally, Mulroney says he shared the “top of his career” with Roberts. However, their off-screen relationship remains strong as well.

“I ve had a great friendship with her and would push these guys out of the way to say something nice about her,” Mulroney said.

Mulroney says he admires Roberts as a wonderful mother and wife. She even encouraged her son to pick up a hobby of his.

“I like her because she made her son Henry play the cello because her friend Dermot plays the cello,” he said. “That s my reading of that.”

Luckily, Henry is a fan of the musical instrument, Mulroney shared.

Mulroney is staying busy with work, appearing in a movie called Sleepless opposite Jamie Foxx as well as a new medical drama for CBS called Pure Genius. He stars as a doctor recruited to a new high-tech hospital.

Look for Pure Genius on CBS this fall.

Reporting by SCOTT HUVER