Julia Roberts’ Half-Sister Nancy Motes Dies of Apparent Drug Overdose

Julia Roberts at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on January 18, 2014
Julia Roberts' half-sister, Nancy Motes, has died at age 37 of an apparent drug overdose, her family said in a statement on Feb. 10 Kevork Djansezian/Getty

Julia Roberts‘ loved ones are grieving a tragic loss today. The August: Osage County actress’ half-sister Nancy Motes has died of an apparent drug overdose at age 37, the family said in a statement to the New York Daily News on Monday, Feb. 10.

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The body of Motes, the youngest sibling of Roberts and her older brother, actor Eric Roberts, was apparently discovered on Sunday, Feb. 9. “It is with deep sadness that the family of Nancy Motes…confirms that she was found dead in Los Angeles yesterday of an apparent drug overdose,” the statement read. “There is no official report from the Coroner’s office yet,” it continued. “The family is both shocked and devastated.”

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UPDATE: Lieutenant Fred Corral of the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner tells Us Weekly: “Nancy Motes was found dead at a residence in the bathroom yesterday, pronounced dead by the LA Fire Department at 2:12 PM yesterday. Not sure whose residence it was. She was found in a bathtub that had water in it. We’re taking it as a suicide, not a drowning.”

“She’s being examined today. We are waiting for the doctor to provide his findings,” the statement to Us continued. “There were prescription and non-prescription drugs found at the scene. Cannot tell you what those drugs were. The role the drugs may or may not have played is not yet known. The investigator at the scene listed at this point that he is going with suicide and we are waiting for the doctor to finish the examination. We haven’t gotten anything yet.”

Betty, Julia-Roberts and Nancy Motes
Julia Roberts posed with half-sister Nancy Motes and their mother Betty Lou in 1997. Glen McCurtayne/Coleman-Rayner

Motes, a production assistant, seems to have had a complicated history with her world-famous half-sister, 45. In an interview she gave to the New York Daily News last August, she described their relationship as “a work in progress.”

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“I think we’re both trying to change our opinions of each other,” the Daily News quoted her as saying. “It’s a work in progress. It’s not going to be fixed overnight.” 

Still, she was hopeful the two would mend fences. “My family, we love each other absolutely,” said Motes, who is also survived by niece Emma Roberts. “I love Julia absolutely, and I have no doubt she loves me.”

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