Their Separate Ways
07/06/2001 AT 10:00 AM EDT
"See, that wasn't so hard," teased her interrogator.
"Well, yeah," Roberts shot back, "your stomach doesn't hurt."
The bellyful of butterflies was a symptom of Roberts's big secret: A month earlier the 33-year-old Oscar winner had quietly parted ways with Bratt, 37, ending a nearly four-year relationship. Theirs had been a public romance, played out in kisses and cuddles and gushing speeches at awards ceremonies, including March's Screen Actors Guild Awards, where Roberts-collecting the sixth of eight statuettes for her role in Erin Brockovich -- invited reporters to "come to our house. We're happy all the time!" The pair had decided to make no public statement about their split, but eventually the news was leaked to the New York City tabloids on June 28, surprising both fans -- who had been on a wedding watch for months -- and friends. "They were extremely loving," says movie producer Howard Rosenman, a longtime friend of Roberts's. "They were into each other's heads and souls. They were supportive of each other. They looked like they were in love."
And they didn't hide it. As recently as May, Bratt and Roberts were seen smooching over sandwiches at a Manhattan cafe, window-shopping hand in hand in Greenwich Village and strolling down St. Mark's Place, making a giddy game of eating watermelon. "They were spitting out the pits to see who could spit the farthest," says a witness. But by then the seeds of discontent had well and truly taken root. Soon afterward Bratt returned to Montreal, where he had been filming the psychological thriller Abandon since April. In late May and in June, Roberts visited the set more than once to try and save the relationship by spending time with him. But in the end "it wasn't enough," a source says of the couple. "They couldn't be the person the other one wanted them to be."