Julia Roberts' Half-Sister Dies Of Reported Drug Overdose

By McCarton Ackerman 02/11/14

Roberts' estranged sibling took to Twitter to unleash a torrent of vitriol on the Oscar-winning actress the week she was found dead in a bathtub by her fiance.

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Nancy Motes in 2011. Photo via

Nancy Motes, perhaps best known as the estranged half-sister of actress Julia Roberts, was found dead in a bathtub last Sunday after a reported drug overdose. She was 37 years old.

Motes’ body was found in Los Angeles by her fiance, John Dilbeck, whom she was set to marry in May. While an overdose was initially suspected, investigators need to conduct tests to conclude if her death was indeed caused by drugs. Craig Harvey, chief of coroner investigations for Los Angeles County, confirmed that “there were prescription and nonprescription drugs found at the scene. The role the drugs may or may not have played is not yet known.”

In the weeks leading up to her death, Motes slammed her estranged sister several times on Twitter. “Just so you all know America’s Sweetheart is a BITCH! Do you want to be a fan of someone so cruel?” she tweeted last month. “She’s not even that good of an actress. Happy you totally Fucked with me?” She also tweeted last October that “it’s a shame when you get more support from strangers than you do from your family. I can’t wait to officially belong to another family?”

She had been open about her rocky relationship with her famous actress sister and accused Roberts of tormenting her about her weight. Weighing 300 pounds at one point, Motes revealed last summer she had gotten gastric bypass surgery in the hopes it would help repair their relationship. “When I was in high school and she was an adult, she would just let me know that I was definitely overweight,” she said. “It just makes me feel incredibly hurt and very sad.”

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.