The Town That Julia Roberts Once Called a Living Hell After Filming There

Julia Roberts has traveled around the globe in her long and iconic acting career. However, there was one state the actor referred to as hell during her time there. Her statements caused quite an uproar between her and a few citizens, which led Roberts to eventually clarify her comments to those who she might have unintentionally offended.

Julia Roberts filmed ‘Sleeping With The Enemy’ in South Carolina

Julia Roberts smirking while wearing earrings
Julia Roberts | VALERIE MACON / Getty Images

Roberts moved to the deep south to film 1991’s Sleeping With The Enemy. In the film, she plays a young woman who flees to safety after faking her death. Roberts had to live in South Carolina to shoot the movie, and she was less than pleased with her experience there.

According to Greensboro.com, the Pretty Woman star gave an interview to Rolling Stone describing her issues with the town of Abbeville, South Carolina.

“I felt like this was hell where I lived,” Roberts reportedly said. “In Abbeville, I felt so assaulted and insulted by these people that I just didn’t want to be nice anymore.”

She would later go on to detail why it was so difficult in this part of South Carolina.

“The people were horribly racist, and I had a really hard time,” she said. “I mean the town (Abbeville) had no restaurants in it. I would go home and sit in this small room with my dog and say, ‘So there’s nothing to eat…You wanna go to sleep?’”

South Carolina residents responded to Julia Roberts’ claims

Many South Carolinians took offense to Roberts’ remarks at the time. Feeling like the entire state was being singled out, the townspeople came together to create an ad defending their community. According to the LA Times, the ad appeared in an issue of Variety. The headline read, “Pretty Woman? Pretty Low.”

“Are there racists here? Perhaps some, as there are throughout the world. But they do not define us,” the rest of the ad read.

Even the Abbeville Mayor at the time, Joe Savitz, made a statement regarding Roberts’ remarks. He theorized that Roberts might have visited what was known as a redneck part of town during her stay.

“No self-respecting person would want to go there,” Savitz said of the area as reported by Greensboro.

How Julia Roberts defended her comments

The outspoken Julia Roberts both clarified and defended the remarks she made about South Carolina. According to Roberts, she wasn’t vilifying the entire state. Rather, she was referencing a particular incident that happened in a certain segment of the area.

“It was a very isolated, specific situation,” Roberts once said as reported by The Morning Call. “It somehow got distorted and the town (Abbeville) in which this took place seemed to think I was attacking them as a whole. I was indeed not. And that is where that went wrong.”

Roberts would later go into a little more detail about the incident in question.

“I had a row with this man. “I was p—ed off,” Roberts said. “But I at no time was speaking in any generalizations about the town itself or the South.”

With how recent the situation was, The Pelican Brief star admits she was still fired up about it during her interview with Rolling Stone, which fueled the passion behind her words.

“Somewhere between my lips and God’s ears, it got very distorted. I had just gotten back. It was quite fresh in my mind, and I was still very high on my horse about it,” Roberts confided. “As I will always be when I see massive injustice being done, whether it be towards black people or white people or tall people or fat people, because I’m not afraid to say what I think.”

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