Their sizzling chemistry hasn’t cooled off one bit! When Julia Roberts and Richard Gere appeared on the Today show in March 2015 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their blockbuster rom-com, Pretty Woman, the pair threw caution to the wind, wasting no time engaging in some PDA as they leaned in close to each other and locked lips. “They both knew it wasn’t altogether appropriate to be kissing like that,” an insider says. “But they just couldn’t help themselves.”
They say a kiss is just a kiss, but for Julia and Richard, it could be a sign of something more — 29 months later. Sources claim that behind the scenes, the onetime costars have reignited their intimate connection and could be ready to turn their attraction into a real-life romantic fairy tale! “Julia and Richard are undeniably drawn to each other and always have been,” an insider tells Star. “Up until now, the timing hasn’t been right, but now friends are wondering if that’s going to change.”
The couple have already ratcheted up their flirtatious friendship, the insider insists. At the April premiere of his new movie, Norman, Richard himself admitted that he now talks with Julia “all the time” — and, apparently, a phone isn’t always necessary. “They’ve met numerous times in L.A. for discreet dinner dates,” claims a second source. “They’ll book a quiet table at the back of the restaurant, sometimes even a private room, where they’ll be left uninterrupted and can even stay past closing hours.” However, Julia and Richard were busted on one of their dates, the source claims, “when a limo driver spotted them meeting up at a hotel together. They were headed to an intimate dinner at a five-star restaurant which was based at the venue, and they made the mistake of using a valet door instead of going in through the back entrance.
“They were trying to keep it low-key by sneaking in incognito, but this guy recognized them right away and told some of his friends. That’s when their cover was blown.”
THERE FOR EACH OTHER
While Julia, 49, and Richard, 67, have kept in touch since they lit up the screen in Pretty Woman, it was the Today show reunion that rekindled their relationship. “It happened when both of them were going through tough times,” the insider says. “They poured their hearts out, especially about their marital problems.” Julia’s 15-year union to Danny Moder, which has long been plagued by rumors of strife, was reportedly on its last legs. One sign of trouble came a month before her TV appearance, when Danny, 48, famously went surfing in Malibu on the day Julia’s mother, Betty Lou Bredemus, died — and then skipped her memorial service. There was reportedly tension long before that as well, particularly when Julia wanted Danny to cut back on his cinematography work to take care of their children, Henry, now 10, and twins Phinnaeus and Hazel, 12. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he still carries a lot of resentment,” a second source says. “I heard they have blowout arguments and even tried couples therapy. It’s been a rough few years, and Julia didn’t need to look any further for support than Richard.”
That may have been a two-way street, especially given Richard’s nasty divorce from actress CareyLowell in 2016. The pair, who wed in 2002 and have a son, Homer, 17, battled it out in court for four years over his estimated $ 250 million fortune — a feud that clearly took a toll on Richard (a self-professed Buddhist), who at one point was so upset that he angrily jabbed the point of his umbrella at photographers. He ended up losing a third of his estate, and has spent some time with 34-year-old Spanish socialite Alejandra Silva since the breakup.
For his part, Richard has always hinted at his intense bond with Julia. During the Today reunion, he recalled their “flirty-flirty” first meeting for Pretty Woman, saying, “We loved each other immediately.” Adds the source: “Julia is captivated by Richard. He’s intelligent, worldly, compassionate and sensitive. But until they got back together two years ago, she never realized just how soulful and deep he is.”
Although Julia and Richard, who later costarred in 1999’s Runaway Bride, have both insisted they won’t be doing a Pretty Woman sequel, fans aren’t abandoning hope that they will pair up again for a follow-up that would no doubt rule the box office. As for the couple’s off-camera connection, “it’s reached the point where their attraction toward each other is blatantly obvious to everyone around them,” the insider says. “A lot of people think they’d be better off going public with their relationship instead of tiptoeing around. It’s almost like Julia and Richard are destined to be together!”