Martin Luther King Jr. Paid the Hospital Bill for Julia Roberts’ Birth

Martin Luther King Jr. Paid the Hospital Bill for Julia Roberts’ Birth

A little-known legend in popular culture resurfaced recently. Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King footed the bill for Julia Roberts’ birth. No, this is not fake news or an urban legend. It really happened and there are literal receipts (or hospital bills) to prove it.

While this pop culture tidbit has been known for some time, it resurfaced recently when a Twitter fan edit was quoted with the caption, “Martin Luther King Jr paying for her birth is still a little known fact that sends me.” The internet was collectively sent as well.

The Roberts and the Kings were well-known families in Georgia. Roberts’ parents owned a theater school in Atlanta called the Atlanta Actors and Writers Workshop, which welcomed the King children and other aspiring Black actors during segregation. Roberts’ father, Walter, even served as the acting coach for Yolanda, Martin and Coretta’s daughter. 

In an interview with another iconic King on the History Channel, Roberts explained the story to TV personality Gayle King.

“One day Coretta Scott King called my mother and asked if her kids could be part of the school because they were having a hard time finding a place that would accept her kids. My mom was like, ‘Sure, come on over.’ And so they just all became friends and they helped us out of a jam.”

Definitively, Roberts confirmed on-air that “the King family paid for my hospital bill.”

But the relationship between the families was far more than financial. Julia Roberts appeared on CNN alongside her mother in conversation with Yolanda, speaking to the special connection between their two families.

“It was an extended family, it really was. And all of these Black kids and white kids getting along, no problems,” Yolanda King said.

Warmly welcoming this wholesome moment in the collective memory, the King’s youngest daughter Bernice tweeted that she was grateful for the story's resurgence.

Photo courtesy of Billy Farrell/BFA