Kiefer Sutherland and Jason Patric explain how they reconciled after Julia Roberts love triangle

Ethan Alter
·Senior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
·6 min read
Actor Kiefer Sutherland and actress Julia Roberts attend the 'Flatliners' Hollywood Premiere on August 6, 1990 at Mann's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Kiefer Sutherland and Julia Roberts attend the 'Flatliners' Hollywood Premiere in August 1990. Roberts left Sutherland for Jason Patric prior to their wedding. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Years before she reunited with her Pretty Woman co-star, Richard Gere, in the 1999 rom-com, Runaway Bride, Julia Roberts famously fled the altar in real life. On June 14, 1991, America's biggest female movie star was set to walk down the aisle with her Flatliners leading man, Kiefer Sutherland, in a lavish ceremony on the 20th Century Fox lot. But fate — in the form of Sutherland's best friend, Jason Patric — intervened. As People reported in a blockbuster story, Roberts ran off with Patric hours before the wedding and flew across the pond to Ireland. 

In the days after his fiancée and his best friend skipped town together, Sutherland reportedly raged about his buddy's betrayal. "When I get hold of Jason I am going to tear him limb from limb," he's rumored to have said at the time. "That snake pretended to be my best friend and all the time he was really after my girl."

Michael Rosenbaum hosts Jason Patric and Kiefer Sutherland on his podcast, 'Inside of You' (Photo: YouTube)
Michael Rosenbaum hosts Jason Patric and Kiefer Sutherland on his podcast, 'Inside of You' (Photo: YouTube)

Flash-forward three decades, though, and The Lost Boys stars are making podcast appearances together without any limbs being torn. On a recent episode of the podcast, Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum, the duo sat down with the former Smallville star for an extended conversation about that 1987 horror favorite — where their friendship began — and growing up in the business. 

At first, it seemed like Rosenbaum was going to dodge the Roberts question altogether. But in a classic Lex Luthor move, the actor brought the subject up in the closing moments of the interview. While both Sutherland and Patric have discussed the 30-year-old scandal in separate interviews over the decades, this is the first time they've addressed it while sitting side-by-side. 

After Rosenbaum popped the question, the friends initially hemmed and hawed as they coordinated a response about how they reconciled. "We hadn't seen each other for over 20 years," Patric said before Sutherland interrupted to note, "I don't know if it was that long." After agreeing that their reunion happened sometime in the mid-2000s, Sutherland said that they talked out what happened on that fateful day in 1991, which, according to People, began when Roberts and Patric met for a turkey burger lunch. By that evening, they were bound for the U.K., and Sutherland was left along with a four-tier wedding cake in the shape of his favorite bird — a turkey. 

"The thing is, she's not here in this room," Patric says on the podcast, referring to Roberts. "So I feel strange talking about what she told me or what she told Kiefer because she can speak for herself. But the large stuff [reported by] the press, being invited to the wedding and taking off with the bride — that's all bull****. Kiefer's specific relationship, and what they were at the time, that's theirs." 

Actor Jason Patric and actress Julia Roberts attend the 'Rush' Hollywood Premiere on December 18, 1991 at the Hollywood Galaxy Theatre in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Jason Patric and Julia Roberts attend the 'Rush' Hollywood Premiere in December 18, 1991 in Hollywood, California. Months earlier, she had broken up with Sutherland on their wedding day. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Rosenbaum then turns to Sutherland, bringing up a 2006 Rolling Stone interview where he discussed the end of his romance with Roberts and his friendship with Patric. "I was making a joke about a country song...'I lost my pick up and my dog and my best friend, and I miss my best friend,'" the actor says. "That was a difficult time for me, and I think it was an uncomfortable time for both of them." 

"The truth where I’m coming from: you fall in love, you fall in love," Sutherland continues. "There's nothing you can do about that. [Julia's] an extraordinary person, and he is too. Timing is what it is, and everyone moves on from that."

While it may have started in dramatic fashion, Roberts and Patric's romance burned out quickly, in part because of the non-stop press attention. The two split in 1992, and Roberts married singer Lyle Lovett the following year. (She's currently married to photographer Danny Moder, who she met on the set of The Mexican in 2000.) Sutherland, meanwhile, married his second wife, Elizabeth Kelly Winn, in 1996 (they separated in 1999 and finalized their divorce in 2008), and announced his engagement to Cindy Vela in 2017. And Patric had a decade-long relationship with Danielle Schreibe from 2002 to 2012 that ended in a public custody battle over their son.  

TimesTalks Presents A Conversation With The Champion Acting Ensemble, Kiefer Sutherland & Jason Patric with cast members of Broadway's 'That Championship Season' at the Times Center in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/Corbis via Getty Images)
Kiefer Sutherland and Jason Patric at the Times Center in New York City in 2011. (Photo by Walter McBride/Corbis via Getty Images)

The first public sign that Sutherland and Patric had buried the hatchet came in 2011 when they starred opposite each other in a Broadway revival of That Championship Season, the Tony-winning 1973 play penned by Patric's father, writer and actor Jason Miller. "When I saw him again, there were a few words and more of a laugh and a toast," he tells Rosenbaum. "I’ve said before that [he and Julia] have both been subsequently married since a couple times and I think they’re both very happy in their lives. What lasted after all that was me and Kiefer as 35-year-buddies."

In summarizing his surprising reunion with Patric, Sutherland invokes another famous love triangle. "George Harrison and Eric Clapton were best friends 'til the bitter end," referencing the two British rock icons, who were both involved with model and photographer, Pattie Boyd. "I figure if they can deal with what they dealt with, we certainly can... I never got the truck back!" 

Patric and Sutherland on Michael Rosenbaum's podcast, 'Inside of You' (Photo: YouTube)
Patric and Sutherland on Michael Rosenbaum's podcast, 'Inside of You' (Photo: YouTube)

Funnily enough, Sutherland maybe could have foretold what was to come with Roberts based on a previous wedding experience he had with Patric. Earlier on in their interview with Rosenbaum, Patric revealed that he tried to help Sutherland escape his first wedding to Camelia Kath in 1987. "Jason was worried that I was not making a very good choice," remembers Sutherland, who was 19 at the time that he and Kath were wed. (The two divorced three years later in 1990, just before he got involved with Roberts.) "He offered up his companionship and said, 'If you start running right now, I’ll run with you.'"

Patric picks up the oddly prescient narrative from there. "There was a big wall in the back, and there’s a lot of drunk people and a lot of people on other substances. We were just talking in a wistful way, and I looked at that wall and said, 'Kiefer, you see that wall? We run to that wall, we climb that wall and we just keep running.' We shared a little laugh about that." 

Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum is available on all podcast platforms and on YouTube

Watch Kiefer Sutherland and Jason Patric's full Inside of You interview below

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