Scott's World -- UPI Arts & Entertainment

By VERNON SCOTT, United Press International   |   July 4, 2002 at 5:59 PM
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HOLLYWOOD, July 4 (UPI) -- Like it or not, Julia Roberts' new bridegroom will forever after be known as the star's second husband. Cameraman Daniel Moder married America's Sweetheart (an uncontested pseudonym), in the wee hours of the Fourth of July at the bride's estate in Taos, N.M.

There were fireworks to be sure.

Moder, a nonentity to the rest of the world, has assumed the most difficult marital state imaginable, husband of the most beloved movie star on the planet.

In effect Moder has become a consort to the Queen of Hollywood, known and admired worldwide.

Moder has immediately gained a wife and become a satellite of the glory and fame surrounding her, an addendum to an institution. Tough role to play? Ask Prince Philip of England.

On the subject of royalty, ask Prince Charles who will go down in history as the husband of Princess Diana of England, perhaps the most cherished woman of the 20th century.

Roberts is a radiant charmer who has captured the hearts of men and women alike. She is a super-talented beam of sunshine, laughter and grace, a treasure among all womankind.

Her realm includes all seven continents and perhaps the entire galaxy.

Everywhere she goes Julia, 34, is the center of attention -- and deserves to be. She is, in fact, Queen Julia I, a monarch if there ever was one, shedding beauty and light wherever she is found. And she loves it.

In fact, when she won her Academy Award for best actress for "Erin Brockovich" last year, she danced onto the stage to say, "I love it!" as she wielded the Oscar statuette over her pretty head. The formally clad sophisticated Hollywood audience came to its feet and cheered its approval in an outpouring of affection seldom seen in this town.

Queen Julia's fellow cast members adore her, becoming willing subjects of her reign on movie sets. Her last lover, actor Benjamin Bratt, fell victim to her charms and became her attendant for four halcyon years before they parted earlier this year.

After their breakup Bratt said he couldn't live with the maelstrom of adoration by the multitudes, the pressure of the media, swarming fans and fishbowl life surrounding America's Sweetheart. Cameraman Moder soon will understand what Bratt was talking about. Of the unalloyed veneration encompassing Julia, Bratt said, "It's like a fly that won't leave you alone. "It's the mosquito that buzzes in your ear when you're trying to sleep," he told Vanity Fair magazine.

"You turn the light off and it comes back again. It's constant and ever-present and it disrupts any chance of peace."

Since his departure from Julia's life Bratt has married Talisa Soto and found the serenity he never had with Roberts.

It takes a courageous man to marry America's Sweetheart. Even a self-respecting confident man becomes the tail of an enormous and colorful kite.

A movie star of Julia's significance must find a man of equal status, fame and economic security to temper dominance and establish an equal partnership. Ted Turner was more than a match for Jane Fonda. Tom Cruise could handle Nicole Kidman and, well, John Kennedy was not overshadowed by Jackie (although that was a close call). Country-western singer Lyle Lovett emerged briefly from relative obscurity when he married Julia in 1993; the marriage lasted 21 months.

Actor Kiefer Sutherland was left waiting at the church when Julia called off their wedding in 1991. She also romanced Dylan McDermott, Matthew Perry, Jason Patric and Liam Neeson before she became attached to Bratt.

Perhaps her abrupt cancellation of marriage to Sutherland inspired her starring roles in "Runaway Bride" and "My Best Friend's Wedding," both of which did well at the box office.

Despite her $20 million-per-picture salary, Roberts is a busy actress who involves herself in several charities and stars regularly in movies. Her biggest hit was "Pretty Woman" with Richard Gere in 1990, which grossed an astonishing $178.4 million. But many of her subsequent films hit the $100 million mark. "Erin Brockovich" and "Notting Hill" were among them.

Despite her enormous fame and international curiosity about her private life, Julia's midnight marriage to Moder was kept reasonably secret until after the event.

Roberts' press agent, Marcy Engelman released a terse announcement of the nuptials shortly after the July 4 ceremony: "Julia Roberts and Daniel Moder married during a midnight ceremony before family and friends at their home in New Mexico."

It was understood that actor George Clooney, a rumored beau and Julia's co-star in "Ocean's Eleven," was part of the Hollywood contingent attending the ceremony.

All the wedding guests, it was said, were asked to wear white linen clothes to the event, perhaps because of the New Mexico heat in July.

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