Julia Roberts Breaks Silence on Half Sister Nancy Motes' Death

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Julia Roberts

"It's just heartbreak," says the actress, tearing up.

Julia Roberts has finally opened up about the death of her half sister, Nancy Motes.

Motes, 37, was found dead in February. She was discovered by paramedics on the bathroom floor of a Los Angeles house with prescription drugs near her body, according to the L.A. County Coroner's Office. She reportedly left a suicide note in which she referenced her estrangement from her family.

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While the family issued a statement after her death saying they were "shocked and devastated," Roberts has remained quiet. But in a new interview published in WSJ Magazine, Roberts was asked about Motes' death. The writer notes that the actress' "face tightens" and then she tears up.

"It's just heartbreak," she says. "It's only been 20 days. There aren't words to explain what any of us have been through in these last 20 days. It's hour by hour some days, but you just keep looking ahead. You don't want anything bad to happen to anyone, but there are so many tragic, painful, inexplicable things in the world. But [as with] any situation of challenge and despair, we must find a way, as a family. It's so hard to formulate a sentence about it outside the weepy huddle of my family."

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Motes had worked as a production assistant on Glee and was the daughter of Julia and Eric Roberts' mother, Betty Lou Motes and their stepfather, Michael Motes. 

Roberts, who received an Oscar nomination earlier this year for her role in August: Osage County, next appears in Ryan Murphy and HBO's adaptation of the play The Normal Heart.