She’s married to Danny Moder, and he’s engaged to model and actor Cindy Vela, but in the early ’90s, Julia Roberts and Kiefer Sutherland were one of Hollywood’s hottest young couples. They were so in love, in fact, that they were set to get married in 1991, when they were 24 and 23, respectively. That didn’t happen, however, and (very) soon Roberts was dating another actor—and one of Sutherland’s best friends—Jason Patric. That was 30 years ago, and all three individuals have had several relationships since then. But anyone who’s gone through a tricky breakup knows that those wounds can take a long time to heal. In a new podcast interview, Patric and Sutherland opened up about that romantic entanglement and set the record straight about both of their relationships with Roberts. To find out what they said about that and how they were able to remain friends, read on, and for splits we’re not over, check out 15 Celebrity Couple Breakups You’re Probably Still Mourning.
Roberts and Sutherland met filming 1990’s Flatliners and started to date. Sutherland and Patric’s friendship predated that relationship by a few years—they both starred in the 1987 cult classic, The Lost Boys. Per People, Sutherland and Roberts’ wedding was supposed to take place on a Hollywood soundstage in June of 1991, but the pairs’ representatives issued a joint statement a mere three days before the scheduled event, announcing that it had been “postponed.” An anonymous source told People at the time that the decision to pull the plug was made by Roberts, adding, “She has wanted to do it for some time but didn’t know if she could find the courage.”
As InStyle notes, Roberts was then seen having a meal with Patric on the very day she was supposed to have wed his friend. In the wake of the breakup, tabloids reported that Patric had been uninvited to the wedding a few days before. He and Roberts kept tongues wagging when they headed off to Ireland together, and eventually stepped out in public a few times back in the States. That relationship didn’t stick either—in 1993, Roberts wed country singer Lyle Lovett.
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A few months after the wedding that wasn’t, Roberts spoke out about the tabloid frenzy that resulted from their split. Though she told Entertainment Weekly that the decision not to get married was a mutual one, she also said she felt that “Kiefer, for whatever reasons, tried to make it seem like he was the victim of the situation.”
“I quite honestly believe that Kiefer knows that it’s the best thing for himself and for me that it didn’t happen,” she said. “But he shouldn’t try to make himself look better by taking shots at me. Somehow or another, it turned into Kiefer being left at the altar. Well, I just don’t understand that, quite frankly.”
A good 15 years later, in 2006, Sutherland indicated again that the breakup was initiated by Roberts. But he also expressed gratitude for it.
“I commend Julia for seeing how young and silly we were, even at the last minute, even as painful and as difficult as it was,” he told Rolling Stone. “Thank God she saw it.”
As his friendship with Patric, that wasn’t mended yet.
“We were friends, and I’m surprised that I never got a call from him saying I’ve fallen in love with da-da-da,” Sutherland said. “Instead, I found out from a stranger.”
For more hot couples from that decade, check out ’90s Celebrity Couples You Totally Forgot About.
The two actors guested on the Apr. 27 episode of the podcast, Inside of You With Michael Rosenbaum. It’s the first time Patric and Sutherland have spoken out together about Roberts or the rift in their relationship.
“The thing is that, [Roberts is] not here right in this room so I feel strange talking about what she told me or what she told Kiefer because she can speak for herself,” Patric told host Michael Rosenbaum when he brought up the sensitive topic. “But the large stuff about the press and being uninvited to the wedding and the taking over the bride and all that, that’s all bulls***.”
For star couples that may have slipped your mind, check out Celebrities You Totally Forgot Dated Each Other.
Neither Sutherland nor Patric could remember exactly how many years have passed since they met, cleared the air, and picked their friendship back up, but they both shared that temporarily losing that friendship was the worst part of the awkward situation.
“I was making a joke about a country song, and someone had asked me a question about Jason, and I said, ‘Well, I mean, I lost my pickup and my dog and my best friend, and I miss my best friend,'” Sutherland said on the podcast. “And look, the press can make whatever it does, and that was a difficult time for me, and I think it was an uncomfortable time for both of them. But look, honestly, the truth where I’m coming from, you fall in love, you fall in love, there’s nothing you can do about that. And she’s an extraordinary persona and he is too and you know, timing is what it is, and everybody moves on from that.”
When Rosenbaum pointed out that a lot of people would not have been able to get over a perceived betrayal like that, the 24 star brought up a famous romantic scandal from the classic rock world.
“I don’t know, I mean, George Harrison and Eric Clapton were best friends until the bitter end, you know,” he said. (Clapton, who was Harrison’s best friend, married his ex-wife Pattie Boyd.) “And [our situation] wasn’t that, by the way. So I figure if they can deal with what they dealt with, we can certainly do it.”
Patric explained that their issues were already well in the past when he and Sutherland reunited.
“When I saw him again…it was a few words of this and that, it was more of a laugh and a toast,” Patric said. “And I’ve said in the press before, [Sutherland and Roberts have] both been subsequently married since, a couple times, I think they’re both very happy in their lives, and what lasted after all that is me and Kiefer. You know, 35 year buddies.”
“Never got the truck back,” Sutherland joked.
For famous former couples who stayed close, here are 48 Celebrity Exes Who Are Best Friends Now.