It’s not everyday that you find out someone has a link to Martin Luther King Jr. The pioneering civil rights activist championed coordinated effort, community outreach, and non-violence in his work to gain everyday rights for Blacks in the South. Tragically, he was assassinated in 1968- just four years after winning the Nobel Peace Prize. But, it was revealed recently that the King family and Julia Roberts’ family were friends when they all lived in Atlanta, Georgia.

In an interview with Gayle King (no relation) for the History Channel’s HISTORYTalks series King starts out asking about famous connections the actress has. She then switches gears and asks, “The day you were born – who paid for your hospital bill?”

Via: Marion S. Trikosko/Library of Congress

To that Roberts laughs and replies that Gayle’s “…research is very good.” Roberts said that Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta had paid for her birth. Robert’s parents, Betty Lou Bredemus and Walter Roberts, did not have the money to pay for their daughter’s birth at the time (1967). Despite owning their own business, The Actors and Writers Workshop, they simply didn’t have the funds.

The Kings had asked the acting family if their kids could study at the school since they had a hard time finding places that would accept them based on their race. When Betty Lou agreed the two couples ended up becoming friends and eventually the Kings helped the Roberts “out of a jam” as the actress stated it.

Via: David Shankbone/Flickr

In the interview King pointed out that it was uncommon to have Black and white children mingling in acting schools at the time and asked Roberts if it shaped who she became- to which she replied, “oh absolutely.”

You can watch clips from the Roberts-King interview here and find out what else they talked about during their time together.

Subscribe to Dusty Old Thing