One ‘Law & Order’ Star Dated Julia Roberts When She Guest-Starred on The Show

by Jacklyn Krol

Did you know that Julia Roberts appeared on Law & Order while she was dating one of its stars?

In 1998, Roberts began dating Benjamin Bratt, who played Detective Rey Curtis for four seasons. In 1999, Roberts guest starred on the show’s milestone 200th episode, “Empire.” Roberts portrayed the role of Katrina Ludlow in the episode.

“A businessman planning to build a new football stadium in New York City is on trial for murder. But the prosecution’s star witness, a professional fundraiser who was having an affair with the victim, may have her own sinister motives,” the official description reads.

In real life, Roberts was a huge fan of the series even before dating one of its stars. When she appeared in the episode, the set was closed to outside observers and she did not do any interviews to promote the series. This was to not overshadow the series’ milestone 200th episode. This marked just her third appearance on network television. She previously guest starred on Friends and Murphy Brown.

‘Law & Order’ Set Reacts to Julia Roberts

It was actually Roberts who approached the show’s producers the year prior about doing a guest stint on the show. So a potential script was developed specifically with her in mind. However, she did not like the first draft in the slightest.

“She told us, ‘This is not the ‘Law & Order’ that I know,’ and she was absolutely right,” producer Ed Sherin said. “It was outside the feel of the show, and she was the first to spot it.”

“We’ve had so many great people appearing on the show, everyone from Samuel L. Jackson to William Macy, but Julia is really the ultimate,” creator Dick Wolf told The Los Angeles Times.

Days before she was set to make her debut on set, the cast and crew were excited and nervous. People wondered how she was behind the scenes.

“There were those who thought she would be the 800-pound gorilla. But she could not have been more courteous,” Sherin revealed.

Aside from Julia Roberts, her two siblings, Lisa Roberts Gillan and Eric Roberts have also guest starred in the Law & Order franchise.

Her work actually earned her a nomination for an Emmy for outstanding performance by a guest actress in a drama series. Bratt was Roberts’ date when she won an Oscar on March 25, 2001. Just three months later, they broke. up. “It’s come to a kind and tenderhearted end,” they said in a statement.