More than 30 years after they played characters Vivian Ward and Edward Lewis, respectively, in Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts and Richard Gere remain close friends today. Though they don’t get to see each other that often, Julia, 51, still sweetly sent Richard, 69, and his wife, Alejandra Silva, a baby gift when their son was born just a few weeks ago.
“Julia sent him tons of presents for the baby,” a source close to the duo exclusively told Closer Weekly in the magazine’s latest issue, on newsstands now. Prior to Richard and Alejandra welcoming their new addition, the actress and her husband, Danny Moder, recently got together with Mr. and Mrs. Gere in the Big Apple. “Julia met Alejandra with Danny on one of their trips to NYC. Everyone got along swimmingly,” the source added.
Their reunion also proved that Julia and Richard — who additionally costarred in 1999’s Runaway Bride — still have the same chemistry they once shared onscreen. “Julia and I will always be connected,” the actor once said of their decades-long friendship. While working on the casting for Pretty Woman, late director Garry Marshall gushed, “You can fake anything in this business except chemistry. When two people kiss, the audience knows if there’s chemistry or not, and Richard and Julia had great chemistry.”
At the time the movie was shot, Julia was only 21 years old and relatively new to showbiz. “Richard was very kind because Julia was new. Richard was very comfortable and put Julia at ease,” Garry once said of their working relationship. A Hollywood insider added, “Back then, Julia wasn’t the mega-star that she would become, but Richard couldn’t help himself. He was putty in her hands.”
In fact, it was Julia who ultimately convinced Richard to take on the role of lonely tycoon Edward Lewis in the film. “We couldn’t find anybody that we wanted [to play Edward],” Julia once explained, adding that she took matters into her own hands when she and director Garry sat down for dinner with Richard in New York City. “I just said, ‘You have to do this movie.’ I kind of pleaded with him in a very real way,” she recalled.
Though they had great onscreen chemistry, Julia and Richard never explored a real-life romance. “Julia was still dating bad boys back then, and Richard wasn’t bad enough!” the source joked, adding it’s likely the two stars regret “the timing never added up romantically for them.”
Since Julia and Richard remain close today, does that mean the duo might come together for another movie in the future? An insider told Closer, “Lightning doesn’t always strike more than once. But if the right opportunity presented itself, they’d do it. It would be amazing to pair them up after all these years.”
For more on Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now — and be sure to sign up for our newsletter for more exclusive news!