It’s been a long time since Julia Roberts had so many starring roles on the horizon, but she would prefer if you didn’t use the word “comeback” to describe where her life and career are headed.

“It wasn’t by design,” she insists of her long absence from important roles on the big screen. “If I’d thought something was good enough, I would have done it. But I also had three kids in the last 18 years.”

Family life with her cameraman husband Danny Moder, 53, and children Hazel and Finn, both 17, and Henry, 14, has been Julia’s priority. However, now that the kids are older — the twins are set to graduate high school and start college in the fall — Julia, 54, has been more eager to work.

She’s starring in the Watergate drama Gaslit, which just premiered on Starz, and has two big upcoming films, Ticket to Paradise, a comedy with George Clooney, and Leave the World Behind, a thriller now in production.

Julia admits she has to really fall in love with a script to leave her family for weeks or months. In 2020, she and Danny moved their brood from Malibu to a lovely old Victorian in San Francisco’s fancy Presidio Heights neighborhood.

“I think moving with three teenagers during a pandemic is not for the faint of heart,” Julia says. “But we have pulled it off, and everyone seems good and happy.” At home, the actress still rises early to feed her family breakfast and get everyone off to school.

If Danny is not away working on a project — he was the director of photography on the 2021 Sean Penn drama, Flag Day — the couple will take advantage of this time together.

“We’ll take a bike ride or have a coffee or a meal somewhere,” says Julia, who will celebrate her 20th wedding anniversary in July. “They’re each other’s best friends,” says an insider. “Plus, she still thinks he is the sexiest man she knows.”

Julia and Danny are happy to be moving into this next period of their lives where their kids are young adults. “She is so proud of her children. The twins are going to be at the same school — I’ve heard UC Berkeley — but one is studying fine arts and the other computer and information sciences,” reveals the insider.

Julia has been eager to help them plan for the future. “I wasn’t lucky enough to have a college experience,” says the star, who left an unstable home in the Atlanta suburbs for L.A. when she was 18. “I mean, I’m completely excited for them. It’s really thrilling. To see how it’s happening for them is really fascinating.”

With the end of her soccer mom years in sight, Julia has had more opportunity to ask herself what she really wants, too.

“Acting is her profession, and she’ll do it for as long as she can,” says the insider. “She wants to act in films that tell a good story.” Lately, the best roles have been in dramas, but Julia says she has no objection to returning to her roots in romantic comedies.

“The good news is yes — I love to laugh and be funny. … It’s a joy to play in that sandbox,” Julia gushes. In fact, she has high hopes for Ticket to Paradise, the film where she and George play a divorced couple trying to stop their daughter from eloping to Bali. Set for release next fall, it hopefully won’t be Julia’s last comedy. “Finding a well-written romantic comedy is tough,” says the insider. “Julia is always on the lookout — but don’t even ask. She’ll never do Pretty Woman 2.”

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