In a new interview with Vanity Fair, Eric, 61, says his battle with drug addiction caused a rift between his family and led an estrangement from Julia for many years.
“I wouldn’t characterize it as a falling-out. I was crazy about my sisters. Loved them, adored them,” he said. “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.”
Eric said his longtime drug use took a toll on his younger sister.
“I was exhausting to be around: complainy, blamey, unable to enjoy enjoyment,” the actor admitted. “Everyone in my world needed a break sometimes, and that must have included Julia.”
Tension between the siblings escalated in 1993 when Julia, 50, sided with Eric’s ex girlfriend Kelly Cunningham during a custody battle over the couple’s daughter Emma Roberts.
Though they went years without talking — then Julia and Eric reunited after the actress gave birth to twins Phinnaeus and Hazel in 2004. Eric went to visit his sister in the hospital and was welcomed with open arms, he says.
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“I was ushered into their room and was immediately awash in brotherly and uncle-ly love,” he told Vanity Fair, adding that the siblings have since spent several holidays together.
And while the pair’s relationship is back on track and have both reached impressive levels of success in Hollywood, Eric boldly made a point to take credit for his sister and daughter’s celebrity status.
“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 said.
He continued: “And I am so proud that everybody knows I was first, because I was first by a long shot,” he added. “I was first to get Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations, so I’m proud of that.”