07/17/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT
In the year since Julia Roberts wed cameraman Danny Moder in a midnight ceremony at her ranch in Taos, N.Mex., the "Erin Brockovich" Oscar winner has changed -- and perhaps for the better, PEOPLE chronicles in its latest cover story.
Friends tell the magazine that it's the easygoing side of Roberts's personality that has blossomed since Danny Moder and she have been husband and wife.
During the shooting of her movie "Mona Lisa Smile" in Wellesley, Mass., Roberts bunked with her husband and the rest of the crew at the nearby Westin hotel, rather than the tonier Four Seasons.
"Her husband was a part of the crew, so she didn't want to be treated any differently," says Robin Dawson, head of the Massachusetts Film Bureau.
Not that his wife doesn't get the VIP treatment from Moder. For her 35th birthday in October, Moder told Julia they had tickets for the Broadway production of "Chicago." But when the pair first popped in to a party held at the Player's Club, near Roberts's New York City duplex, a crowd of 100 pals -- including James Gandolfini and Bruce Willis -- were waiting to shout "Surprise!"
Roberts and Moder hope to start a family "in due course," the star said last year. "It'll be great."
Meanwhile, they have been forced to deal with the constant tabloid speculation, which friends say is unfair.
"It's not easy being in love with everyone watching," an acquaintance tells PEOPLE. "She's got a real marriage. They are happy together."