Why is everyone comparing the Ariana Grande cheating scandal to Julia Roberts?

Ari 'is pulling what used to be called a Julia Roberts,' one fan said of the Ariana Grande cheating rumors—here's how America's Sweetheart got roped into things

Why is the Ariana Grande cheating scandal reminding everyone of Julia Roberts?
(Image credit: Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty; Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty)

By now, we're guessing you're pretty caught up on the Ariana Grande cheating rumors. After all, the news that the pop star split from her husband of two years, Dalton Gomez, and was now dating her married Wicked co-star Ethan Slater rocked the internet, especially as they tried to piece together the timeline of the burgeoning new relationship. 

But where the news shocked some, others pointed out it not only wasn't entirely out of character for the "break up with your girlfriend, i'm bored" singer (more on that in a bit) but that the scandal also reminded folks of yet another Hollywood superstar: Julia Roberts. Here's why...

What does the Ariana Grande cheating news have to do with Julia Roberts?

When the Ari and Ethan news broke, a viral video started making the rounds on social media detailing how it wasn't the first time that Grande was messily involved in a couple's breakup. The video chronicled the star's dating history, including her famous romances with Mac Miller, Big Sean and Pete Davidson, all of which allegedly began out of infidelity. 

Similarly, Grande's current courtship with Ethan Slater comes awfully close to the actor announcing his own separation from his wife Lilly Jay after four years of marriage and ten together. The exes share an 11-month-old son. ("[Ariana’s] the story, really. Not a girl’s girl,” Jay told Page Six. “My family is just collateral damage.”)

So, how does all of this relate to Academy Award-winning America's Sweetheart, Julia Roberts? Well, it seems that back in the day, in between appearing in classic '90s movies like Pretty Woman, My Best Friend's Wedding and Notting Hill, Ms. Roberts had her own very messy love life. 

In 1991, the Ticket to Paradise star was engaged to actor Kiefer Sutherland. That is, until three days before their scheduled wedding, shortly after which Roberts pulled an IRL Runaway Bride and hightailed over to Ireland with actor Jason Patric—a.k.a. Sutherland's best friend. They reportedly broke up a year later, just in time for her to meet and marry country star Lyle Lovett. However, photos of Roberts dancing intimately with actor Ethan Hawke popped up during the marriage, and the odd-couple pair divorced in 1995. 

Julia Roberts' next marriage was similarly attention-grabbing, thanks to the relationship's overlap with her husband's previous marriage. The actress met cameraman Danny Moder on the set of the 2000 film The Mexican; she was dating actor Benjamin Bratt and he was married to Vera Steimberg at the time. After both of those relationships were officially shafted, Julia and Danny married in 2002. 

What is the Julia Roberts' A Low Vera' drama about?

At the time of Roberts' alleged affair with Danny Moder, the actress was spotted in Los Angeles wearing a homemade T-shirt that read "A Low Vera." And no, it had nothing to do with succulent plants. Instead, it was seemingly a dig at Moder's then-wife Vera Steimberg, who was refusing to sign the divorce papers. 

When asked about the scandalous sartorial choice, Roberts told Oprah: "I stand by my T-shirt." After holding out for nearly two years, Steimberg did end up signing the papers and she and Moder divorced in June 2022. Less than a month later, on July 4, 2002, Roberts and Moder were wed at her ranch in New Mexico. 

Roberts and Moder are still married two decades later—will Ariana and Ethan have the same romantic fortune? Stay tuned!

Christina Izzo

Christina Izzo is the Deputy Editor of My Imperfect Life. 

More generally, she is a writer-editor covering food and drink, travel, lifestyle and culture in New York City. She was previously the Features Editor at Rachael Ray In Season and Reveal, as well as the Food & Drink Editor and chief restaurant critic at Time Out New York

When she’s not doing all that, she can probably be found eating cheese somewhere.