Julia Roberts is stunned to learn she isn't actually a 'Roberts'

‘My mind is blown!’ Julia Roberts is stunned to learn she isn’t actually a ‘Roberts’ after DNA archives reveal secret family scandal

  • Julia discovers the identity of her great great grandfather after a family scandal
  • Through DNA, it is found the actress’ great great grandmother, Rhoda Suttle Roberts, had an affair with a married man after her husband Willis’ death
  • Julia is stunned to find out she is not a Roberts but should be a Mitchell, after her family tree is traced back Henry MacDonald Mitchell Jr.
  • Henry’s mother lived just four doors away from Rhoda in Georgia and had a secret affair in the late 1870s while married to a woman named Sarah 

Julia Roberts was shocked out to find she isn’t a ‘Roberts’ after a dig into her family archives revealed a secret scandal. 

The actress, 55, has starred in Ancestory’s Finding Your Roots to discover more about her family tree through DNA archives and genealogical work with the help of Dr Henry Louis Gates Jr. 

And Julia couldn’t believe it when she was told her last name is actually completely different, due to her great great grandmother Rhoda Suttle Roberts having an affair with a married man after her husband Willis Roberts’ death. 

Shocked: Julia Roberts was shocked out to find she isn’t a ‘Roberts’ after a dig into her family archives revealed a secret scandal

Dr Henry told the actress: ‘Digging into Georgia’s County archives, we discovered that sometime in the 1850s, Rhoda married a man named Willis Roberts.

‘Julia carries Willis’ last name. But Willis passed away in 1864, over a decade before Rhoda gave birth to Julia’s great grandfather, John, leading to an inescapable conclusion.’

When looking at the archives, Willis isn’t listed in the 1880 census but her great grandfather John Pendleton Roberts is. 

History: The actress, 55, has starred in Ancestory’s Finding Your Roots to discover more about her family tree through DNA archives and genealogical work

Stunned: Julia couldn’t believe it when she was told her last name is completely different, due to her great great grandmother Rhoda Suttle Roberts having an affair with a married man

Dr Henry allowed Julia time to discover Willis was missing, leading him to tell her: ‘Willis Roberts could not possibly be your great, great grandfather. He was dead.’ 

A shocked Julia replied: ‘But am I not a Roberts?’ 

The historian went on to explain how his team delved deep into Georgia’s archives but couldn’t find any details of the identity of Julia’s great great grandfather. 

Archives: Dr Henry explained how his team delved deep into Georgia’s archives but couldn’t find any details of the identity of Julia’s great great grandfather

They then turned to looking at DNA having extracted samples from the actress and a cousin to see if they could find a match on who their great grandfather’s father was. 

Dr Henry explained: ‘We found a cluster of matches that tie Julia and her cousin to one man’… Henry MacDonald Mitchell Jr. 

After reading out the name, Julia asked: ‘So we’re Mitchells?’, with the professor confirming she’s ‘Julia Mitchell’. 

The story takes another interesting twist as it’s revealed in the census Henry is married to a woman named Sarah and has six children. 

Putting the jigsaw puzzle together, Dr Henry then says Rhoda lived only four houses away from Henry’s mother. 

Taking in the news, Julia said: ‘Truly my mind is blown. It is fascinating. And on the other hand there’s you know part of me that you know that when I’m calmer, you know can still wrap my arms around the idea that my family is my family.’

She added laughing: ‘I do prefer the name Roberts. This was a very unexpected turn.’ 

‘My mind is blown’: After reading out the name, Julia asked: ‘So we’re Mitchells?’, with the professor confirming she’s ‘Julia Mitchell’

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