updated 06/14/2004 AT 2:35 PM ET
•originally published 06/03/2004 AT 12:00 PM ET
Last winter, while filming Closer – a drama costarring Natalie Portman and Jude Law – in London, Julia Roberts seemed closer than ever to husband Danny Moder. When he wasn’t there, “Julia was adorable missing him,” recalls producer Cary Brokaw. But Brokaw adds that Moder often visited the set, much to the star’s delight: “They’re great together,” he says. “She’s incredibly demonstrative in her love and affection for him.” Roberts never let on that she and her husband were planning a pregnancy in the immediate future, but something, clearly, was up. “There was a sense of it,” says Brokaw, “but she always has a glow.”
Now more than ever. According to her spokeswoman, Marcy Engelman, Roberts, 36, is pregnant with twins and will deliver early next year. “I am so happy for her,” her pal and Ocean’s Twelve producer Jerry Weintraub told PEOPLE from Italy, where Roberts will spend part of the summer filming the sequel to Ocean’s Eleven. “I know she’s wanted a child for some time. I can’t wait for her to get here so I can give her a big hug.” Emphasis on big. One of the first signs that Roberts was about to get her wish to, as she told Oprah in December, “hold a baby in my arms,” was a tightening of her wardrobe – and of course the occasional bout of queasiness, which she’s still experiencing as she approaches her second trimester.
By the time she was spotted strolling with Moder, 35, on a beach in late May, she was baring a telltale belly that heralded the approaching pitter-patter of little feet. Or rather, pitter-patter, pitter-patter. Though Roberts has a history of twins in the family – her great-grandmother has a twin and a pair of cousins are a set – she and Moder were surprised, to say the least, to discover they’d be shopping for two cribs. (They have not yet determined the sex of the twins.) Asked how they responded to the news, a friend says, “Probably, like any parents, they were thrilled – followed quickly by a little panic.”
The couple, who met in 2000 while both were working on The Mexican, married over July 4th weekend in 2002, following the groom’s divorce from his wife, Vera. (Roberts, meanwhile, remains good friends with her ex, Lyle Lovett, to whom she was married for 21 months until their 1995 split.) Since the nuptials at her home in Taos, N.Mex., Roberts and Moder have become the most un-Hollywood of Hollywood couples, preferring to walk their 10 dogs over appearing on a red carpet. “There’s a real ease to my life,” Roberts said in December. “It’s such a joy being domestic. It’s something I want and something that makes me very happy.” Indeed, with her Oscar for 2000’s Erin Brockovich, more than $2.5 billion in box office receipts and a salary of up to $25 million per picture, the actress said in March, “I just don’t feel pressure to prove myself anymore.”
Roberts has chosen New York City as the birthplace for her twins because, her friend says, “she feels like it’s her hometown.” While she shows no signs of giving up work – coincidentally, her character in Ocean’s Twelve is pregnant, and Roberts was fitted for a fake pregnancy belly in January – but life at home is her priority. As she said in March, “I just want to be a good wife, a good family member, a good friend.” And now, a good mom – a task Brokaw has no doubt she will master. “She is simply one of the smartest, funniest, most real people I’ve ever met,” he says. “She’s centered and wise and thoughtful. She understands what’s important.” In other words, says her pal Jerry Weintraub, “she’ll make a wonderful mother.”
By Karen S. Schneider. Julie Jordan in Los Angeles, Natasha Stoynoff in Manhattan and Peter Mikelbank in Paris