Julia Roberts wasn’t planning on falling in love. But that’s exactly what happened when, while shooting the 2001 film The Mexican, the star struck up a friendship with a handsome cameraman named Danny Moder. “I think that first kind of real seismic shift was meeting Danny,” Julia recalls. “That was the first, like, my life will never be the same in the most incredible, indescribable way.”
They didn’t start dating immediately. At the time, Julia was in a relationship with actor Benjamin Bratt, and Danny was married to makeup artist Vera Steimberg. But the leading lady and the lenser left an indelible impression on each other.
Julia says that once they “sorted” out their lives and split with their partners, they reconnected and the rest is history. Twenty years, a wedding and three children later, Mr. and Mrs. Moder are still deeply in love.
And as they prepare to celebrate their 19th anniversary on July 4, they appreciate each other now more than ever. “He truly, to this day, to this minute is just my favorite human,” Julia says. “We just really, really like each other, and we just enjoy each other’s company.”
Indeed, an insider says that Julia, 53, and Danny, 52, “truly feel like soulmates.” And that deep personal connection has carried them through difficult times when their busy work schedules have separated them for weeks and even months at a time.
“The chemistry between them is crucial,” the insider shares of the pair, adding that when they reunite, it’s almost as though they’re meeting each other all over again. “After all this time, Julia still finds Danny incredibly sexy, and he adores her still.”
They’re also on the same page when it comes to raising Hazel and Phinnaeus, 16, and Henry, 14. Though they may be different in many ways, Julia says she and Danny share a similar “philosophy” on parenting and it’s helped them to bring up their kids as a team.
“You just don’t know these things until you are right there doing it,” she explains. “And we are so fortunate that there is … harmony to the way we do things.”
Others haven’t always believed in their love. Over the years, rumors have swirled about an imminent breakup between the two. But while Julia admits the talk “can still hurt my feelings because I’m so proud of my marriage,” they’ve both learned to let it go.
“They laugh off all the marital problems and ‘near divorces’ they’ve supposedly gone through,” the insider says.
Of course, like any long-married couple, Julia and Danny have seen their share of rough patches. But they’ve gotten through them, the insider says, with the help of counseling.
“They’re committed to staying together for the long haul, whatever it takes.” And after two decades of togetherness, it still shows. Enthuses Julia: “There’s so much happiness wrapped up in what we’ve found together.”