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Director Peter Hedges: Julia Roberts’ Kids ‘Understand That She’s in Charge’ (Exclusive)

Julia Roberts and Peter Hedges
Julia Roberts and Peter Hedges attend the "Ben Is Back" premiere during 2018 Toronto International Film Festival at Princess of Wales Theatre on September 8, 2018 in Toronto, Canada.GP Images/Getty Images

Julia Roberts runs a tight ship at home, according to director Peter Hedges. While filming Ben Is Back, Hedges, 56, observed the Oscar winner with her 14-year-old twins Phinnaeus and Hazel and son, Henry, 11. 

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“She’s firm, but in a way that a mother needs to be,” Hedges told Us Weekly at a screening for their new drama in New York City on Monday, December 3. “When I look back at my parenting I think I was a little too soft and too easy. I think they understand that she’s in charge but there’s so much respect. She listens to them in such a deep and meaningful way that it feels healthy and really balanced.”

The What’s Eating Gilbert Grape author and his wife, Susan Bruce Titman, are parents of sons Lucas and Simon. (Lucas, 21, plays the recovering drug addict son of Roberts’ character in Ben Is Back.) Roberts, 51, meanwhile, shares her three children with her husband of 16 years, Danny Moder

Julia Roberts
Daniel Moder, Julia Roberts, Kelly Slater, Phinnaeus Moder, Henry Daniel Moder and Hazel Moder attend Kelly Slater, John Moore and Friends Celebrate Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Outerknown

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While speaking with Us on Monday, Hedges continued to rave about the Pretty Woman actress. “I don’t know if this is a surprise, but we we will never read a book about her being that awful mother,” he declared. “She’s the biggest movie star in the world, but in her house she’s not a movie star. She’s their mother and it is so moving and so powerful to be in that home because you see what matters to her most.”

Roberts, who landed her breakout role in the1988 romantic comedy Mystic Pizza, became the first actress to command $20 million per movie in 2000 for Erin Brokovich. Hedges is amazed that his friend never lost sight of what matters. 

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“I am so proud that she can be in the public eye for 30 years and build such a beautiful home and make such a loving family,” the Pieces of April director raved. “I was in the home too many days and too long and I can smell a family that’s broken, that’s all I write! They are so happy and there’s so much health and love. It was so exciting for me to experience.”

Ben Is Back opens in theaters on Friday, December 7.

With reporting by Nicki Gostin

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