Half-sister of Julia Roberts found dead in 'drug overdose

Wednesday, 12 February 2014 - 9:04am IST | Agency: Daily Telegraph

The half-sister of Julia Roberts has been found dead in a Los Angeles bathroom from a suspected drug overdose, after apparently criticising the Oscar-winning actress in a series of Twitter posts.

Nancy Motes, 37, who fought a long battle against obesity and depression, had claimed the Hollywood star was "cruel" and "not even that good an actress" in tweets that were soon deleted from her account.

"Just so you all know 'America's Sweetheart' is a b----!" she wrote on January 19 in a reference to Roberts's starring role in the 2001 film of the same name. Ms Motes previously worked as a production assistant on Glee, the television show, a job that Roberts reportedly helped her to find.

She was working as a pet-sitter at the time of her death, according to American media.

Ms Motes, who was found dead by her fiance, John Dilbeck, previously claimed that Roberts, 46, taunted her about her weight and that she had been rejected by her own family.

"When I was in high school and she was an adult, she would just let me know that I was definitely overweight," she said in an interview last year. "It just makes me feel incredibly hurt and very sad."

Roberts, who won an Oscar for best actress for her performance in Erin Brockovich in 2000 and has been nominated in the best supporting category this year for August: Osage County, cancelled a series of high-profile events to promote the new film.

Ms Motes's tirade on Twitter against her half-sister dated back to October. On January 22, she suggested that her family had "abandoned" her and that she could not wait to become part of another family, seemingly a reference to her forthcoming marriage to Mr Dilbeck, a film and television locations manager.

Ms Motes and Roberts had the same mother, but different fathers. Her family said they were "shocked and devastated" after her body was found on Sunday.

"It is with deep sadness that the family of Nancy Motes … confirms that she was found dead in Los Angeles yesterday of an apparent drug overdose," a statement read. The actress's representative did not return media calls.

Ms Motes had spoken in the past of her struggle with obesity and the pressures of being in a family of actors.

Her siblings, Lisa Roberts Gillan and Eric Roberts, are also actors and Ms Motes once dreamt of pursuing the same career, but said she abandoned those plans because of her weight.

In an interview last year, she said she felt like an embarrassment to Roberts, who became famous after starring in Pretty Woman in 1990, when Ms Motes was 13.

"I think that growing up as Pretty Woman's little sister has definitely made me try to see the person inside and not the person outside," she said.

She also claimed that Roberts had not been supportive of her desire to become an actress.

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