AN emotionally torn Julia Roberts shocked people gathered at a memorial service for her tragic sister Nancy Motes by saying she admired Nancy but would like to “wring her neck!”
Speaking at a cemetery in her hometown of Smyrna, Ga., the Oscar winner broke down in tears as she poured out her heart about Nancy, who overdosed Feb. 9 at age 37, after writing a five-page suicide note.
The “Pretty Woman” star had repeatedly tangled with Nancy on a number of issues over the years. And at the May 3 memorial, Julia’s anguish exploded to the surface.
“After listening to her sister Lisa speak, Julia rose to her feet and choked back tears,” revealed an older eyewitness. “She said that after hearing everyone, she felt gypped and pissed!
“ Julia added that Nancy’s spirit was still there and that she was looking down on loved ones. But the truth is that she’s gone and not coming back. Julia said that, as her sister, she just wanted to ‘wring’ her neck because she didn’t wait to see the joy that comes with the morning.”
That last bit was a reference to Psalm 30, “Joy Comes in the Morning,” which had been read by one of Nancy’s friends.
“The mourners were stunned by Julia’s harsh words,” revealed the source. “But they were even more stunned when she said that she actually admired Nancy for what she did.
“People started to turn around and look at each other, as if to say, ‘What the hell? Did I hear that right?’
“Julia said that her sister took control and ended her pain when she had no other tools to cope with it. That’s because Nancy couldn’t take the turmoil anymore. She said she admired that she had the strength to do what she did, to end her pain. When Julia said that, people were really shocked,” noted the source. “The whole scene was really bizarre. It was held at a rundown cemetery. And they had this big grave dug for this little urn, which held Nancy’s ashes.”
Approximately 45 people attended the hour-and-a-half memorial under a blazing Georgia sun at the New Smyrna Cemetery, not far from the home where the 46-year-old superstar grew up.
Julia had flown from California for the service along with her cancer-stricken, 79-year-old mother, Betty Lou Motes.
The star’s husband, cameraman Danny Moder, 45, came by private jet with the rest of the family – twins Hazel and Phinnaeus, 9, and Henry, 6. But while the memorial was taking place, Danny stayed behind with the youngsters at a hotel because Julia didn’t think it was appropriate for the children to attend, said the source.
Other attendees included a handful of Nancy’s childhood friends and her doctor. But the source says brother Eric Roberts was a no-show as well as Nancy’s father Michael, who’d long ago split from their mother Betty. But Nancy’s fiance John Dilbeck was pointedly not invited, according to the source, who called him a “persona non grata” because he blamed Julia for contributing to Nancy’s suicide.
As The ENQUIRER has reported, Julia and Nancy had a very tumultuous relationship over the years. Nancy attacked Julia in Internet posts and accused the actress of bullying her about her weight problem. The two also fought over Betty’s medical treatment.
In the weeks before Nancy’s death, the squabbling got so bad that Julia cut off contact between Nancy and their mother, changing Betty’s cell phone number and the locks on her house.
At that point, Nancy, who’d lost her job as a production assistant on the TV series “Glee” and owed $30,000 for gastric bypass surgery, again lashed out at Julia on the Internet.
In one post, Nancy called Julia a “hag” and “an awful, hate filled old pathetic excuse for a human.”
In a Jan. 20 post, she once again ranted about Julia, saying: “Just so you all know ‘America’s sweetheart’ is a b****!!”
In a final slap in the face, Nancy even blasted Julia in her suicide note.
Despite all that, Julia insists she was crushed by her sister’s death, and the source says the actress wrapped up her speech at the memorial by saying: “Nancy and I had our differences. We had our arguments, our knock-down, drag-out fights. But there was always love at the end of it…I’m so glad we brought her back to Georgia.”