April 1, 1995 in Features

Roberts, Lovett Hardly Paired Up

Jerry Carroll San Francisco Chronicle
 

We knew it couldn’t last, didn’t we?

As odd couples go, Julia Roberts and Lyle Lovett eclipsed almost any other celebrity duo you could name. Only the Michael Jackson-LisaMarie Presley marriage pushes the needle farther over on the weirdness meter.

Unlikely doesn’t begin to do justice to the Roberts-Lovett pairing: a reigning beauty of the silver screen and a country-western crooner and songwriter who would be a contender in any Ugly Man Contest.

In two years of marriage, they never spent more than seven consecutive days together.

It seemed he was always on the road doing concerts and she was always making movies or trying to find herself. He lived in a clapboard farmhouse in rural Klein, Texas, while she made her home in Manhattan.

Roberts cooked Thanksgiving

dinner once and Lovett made toast for her one morning. As we look back, these can be considered pretty much the domestic highlights of their lives together as husband and wife. We’ll think of a better word than “together” in a minute.

Lyle and Julia. Some marriages are made in heaven, but the ones made in Hollywood sell better, particularly those with a doomed quality about them. The death watch in this case began when Roberts flung the bridal bouquet.

Aileen Joyce, author of “Julia: The Untold Story of America’s Pretty Woman” (Pinnacle Books, 1993), wasn’t fooled from the beginning. “When she was going with actor Jason Patric, he looked like a homeless man and she looked like a bag lady. When she was with Keifer Sutherland, she dressed in Armani.” Roberts never adopted the country look, and that spoke volumes to Joyce.

The end-is-near yarns proliferated last year after Roberts, 27, was spotted one night slow-dancing with slacker hunk Ethan Hawke sans her wedding ring and when Lovett, 37, was photographed one morning leaving the hotel room of singer Kelly Willis.

Lovett and Roberts had known each other just three weeks before marrying, two weeks after she and former boyfriend Daniel Day-Lewis split up. “He’s just perfect,” the newlywed said of her husband a few months into the marriage. “Just when I get used to one great thing that I’ve discovered (about him), I find another great thing.”

Insiders said the end came because Lovett tired of the cuckold look. Others said he wanted to start a family. Paid $10 million a film, Roberts is not in such a big rush.

Maybe it’s not all loss. The experience had to give Lovett a lot of material for sad songs.


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