Julia Roberts and Ethan Hawke were papped yesterday on the set of their new Netflix film, Leave the World Behind. Julia is once again working with Sam Esmail who is directing and adapting the project based on Rumaan Alam’s acclaimed novel by the same name. Mahershala Ali also stars and it’s about two families who don’t know each other who have to spend a long weekend together after sh-t goes south. Per Deadline, the story is about “the complexities of parenthood, race, and class …[and] explores how our closest bonds are reshaped – and unexpected new ones are forged – in moments of crisis”. All of that sounds urgent and uncomfortable, which is exactly where we probably need to be if we intend to move forward, together. And there will be time enough to discuss it when it comes out. For now… can we enjoy some gossip nostalgia. Because it’s been a LONG time since we’ve talked about Julia and Ethan. Yes, there is some history here, although I’m not sure if everyone remembers it. Because it was 26 years ago…


In 1994, Julia was married to Lyle Lovett. They’d met in 1993 and were married three weeks later – and all of it seemed to come out of nowhere. Julia was basically her own gossip industry back then, and everyone was fascinated by this relationship. For one, it didn’t seem like they lived together and Lyle even told PEOPLE a few months after their wedding that, “We’ve never gone more than a week without seeing each other since we got married. But we’ve never spent more than seven days together.” Lyle was working on new music and Julia was shooting multiple films, but they did eventually break that seven-day record when they were both in LA for a few weeks although pretty soon they were back at work again. And there were all kinds of rumours about the state of their marriage. 

Cut to 1994, Julia attends a business dinner. Ethan Hawke is there. And they looked… close. You can see those photos here and here. Ethan had just come off Reality Bites, which I was just talking about yesterday. In their coverage of the situation, PEOPLE actually described him as a “23-year-old slacker-hunk”, LOL forever. 


Julia’s publicist brushed off the speculation, saying they were friends and that dancing with someone wasn’t a crime. When Rolling Stone asked her about it a few weeks later, she too made the same analogy: 

I danced. Is that a felony? 

Of course it’s not. But Julia Roberts in the 90s, when she was in her 20s, was…well… in and out of love. Quickly. As so many of us are. She just happened to be the biggest female movie star of the decade. And then, less than a year later, she and Lyle announced their divorce. It was amicable, she remained close to his family. 

But that’s the gossip background to these images of Julia and Ethan on set together, all these years later. This moment in Gossip Nostalgia was brought to you by Julia Roberts with short hair. 

Julia Roberts attends the 'Crooklyn' New York City Premiere on May 9, 1994 at Loews Astor Plaza in New York City