In the 30 years since her breakthrough role in 1988’s Mystic Pizza, Julia Roberts has been one of Hollywood’s most recognizable stars. But that’s not the case at home.

When her twins, Hazel and Phinnaeus, 13, and son, Henry, 11, first started catching on to the fact that their mom might be somebody, “It was like, ‘You’re famous?'” Julia, 50, recently told Harper’s Bazaar. “I just said, ‘A lot of people might know who I am.’ Then maybe an hour goes by. ‘Are you more famous than Taylor Swift?'”

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It only took a minute for Julia to, as Taylor sings, shake it off. After all, her kids’ innocence is one of her greatest achievements. “She’s so proud about how unaffected they are by her fame,” a friend exclusively told Closer Weekly — in the magazine’s latest issue, on newsstands now! — of Julia’s brood with her husband, cinematographer Danny Moder, 49. “They’re not spoiled or entitled, and she made quite an effort to keep their lives as normal as possible to avoid that.”

Her commitment to her family is unflinching. “When she had kids, she learned to be assertive about letting industry people know her work was no longer her priority,” the friend said. “She actually received a ton of pressure when she stepped back from acting for a while. People even warned her it could do irreversible damage to her career, but she didn’t care.”

That calculated risk has more than paid off. Not only is Julia’s career still thriving, but it taught her an important lesson: “To believe in myself,” the actress, who stars in the new Amazon series Homecoming as well as in December’s big-screen release Ben Is Back, told the Harper’s Bazaar. “I’m a 50-year-old woman and I know who I am.”

Self-belief hasn’t always come easily for the actress. “She’s had her share of flops,” the friend admitted, but that taught her to trust her gut and not be afraid to fail. “She discovered it’s OK to be vulnerable and to really put herself out there on-screen.”

Julia’s work was ultimately rewarded with a best actress Oscar for 2000’s Erin Brockovich. “Now she feels she doesn’t have anything to prove,” said the friend. “She knows her worth. If a role will take her away from her family too long, she just won’t take it.” That level of freedom is something she hopes her own kids will have one day, especially her daughter.

“Julia wants to set an example for Hazel that she can do whatever she wants in life,” the friend shared. “She doesn’t want Hazel to see any limitations to being a woman.”

Another crowning achievement for Julia is her 16 years with Danny as husband and wife. “I’m so proud of my marriage. There’s so much happiness wrapped up in what we’ve found together,” she beamed to Harper’s Bazaar.

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As for the frequent tabloid rumors to the contrary? “If they’re faced with a story at a store, they laugh about it,” the friend shared. “They’ve really learned to just let it go.” Julia did the same this summer when she was barraged with nasty comments after her niece Emma Roberts posted a pic on social media of the two playing cards.

“My feelings got hurt,” Julia admitted, who was makeup-free in the shot. “I was sad people couldn’t just see the sweetness, the absolute joy of that photo.” Still, she refuses to let bullies steal her smile — or her innate optimism. “I can’t,” she previously told Variety and revealed the secret to her strength. “I have three young children. I refuse to be scared.”

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