“My mind is blown!” Julia Roberts is shocked to learn she isn’t “Roberts” after DNA archives reveal secret family scandal
- Julia discovers the identity of her great-grandfather after a family scandal
- Through DNA, it was found that the great-grandmother of the actress, Rhoda Suttle Roberts, had an affair with a married man after the death of her husband, Willis.
- Julia is shocked to discover that she is not a Roberts but must be a Mitchell, her family tree having been traced back to Henry McDonald Mitchell Jr.
- Henry’s mother lived just four doors down from Rhoda in Georgia and had a secret affair in the late 1870s when she was married to a woman named Sarah.
Julia Roberts is shocked to discover she isn’t “Roberts” after a search of her family archives uncovers a secret scandal.
The actress, 55, 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 didn’t believe it when she was told her last name was completely different, since her great-grandmother Rhoda Suttle Roberts had an affair with a married man after her husband, Willis Roberts, died.
Shocked: Julia Roberts is shocked to discover she’s not “Roberts” after a search of her family’s archives reveals a secret scandal
‘While digging through the Georgia County Archives, we discovered that sometime in the 1850s, Rhoda married a man named Willis Roberts,’ Dr. Henry told the actress.
Julia goes by the last name of Willis. But Willis passed away in 1864, more than a decade before Rhoda gave birth to Julia’s great-grandfather, John, with an inevitable outcome.
When looking at the archives, Willis is not listed in the 1880 census but her great-grandfather John Pendleton Roberts is.
HISTORY: The actress, 55, starred in Ancestory’s Finding Your Roots to find out more about her family tree through DNA archives and genealogical work
Dazed: Julia couldn’t believe it when she was told her last name was completely different, due to her great-grandmother Rhoda Suttle-Roberts having an affair with a married man
Dr. Henry allows Julia some time to discover Willis is missing, prompting him to tell her: ‘Willis Roberts can’t be your great-grandfather. He died.
Shocked, Julia replies, “But aren’t you Roberts?”
The historian went on to explain how his team delved into Georgia’s archives, but was unable to find any details on the identity of Julia’s great-grandfather.
Archives: Dr. Henry explained how his team dug into the Georgia archives but couldn’t find any details on the identity of Julia’s great-grandfather.
They then turned to DNA testing after drawing samples from the actress and her cousin to see if they could find a match with their great-grandfather’s father.
‘We found a bunch of matches linking Julia and her cousin to one man,’ explained Dr. Henry… Henry McDonald Mitchell Jr.
After reading the name, Julia asked, “So we’re Mitchells?” The professor confirms that it is “Julia Mitchell”.
The story takes another interesting turn as it is revealed in the census that Henry is married to a woman named Sarah and has six children.
After putting the jigsaw puzzle together, Dr. Henry says that Rhoda lived only four houses away from Henry’s mother.
Really blown my mind, Julia said on the news. It’s a great. And on the other hand, there’s a part of me that knows that when I’m a little calmer, you can still wrap my arms around the idea that my family is my family.
“I prefer the name Roberts,” she added, laughing. This was a very unexpected turn.
‘My mind is blown’: After reading the name, Julia asked, ‘So we’re Mitchells?’ With the professor confirming that it’s Julia Mitchell.