Why Julia Roberts Missed George Clooney's AFI Life Achievement Award Ceremony

Jennifer Aniston and Julianna Marguiles show up to honor the actor
By Zach Johnson Jun 08, 2018 12:20 PMTags
Julia Roberts, George ClooneySamir Hussein/WireImage

George Clooney was the toast of the town Thursday.

The 57-year-old actor and director was honored at the American Film Institute's 2018 Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute, where everyone from Jennifer Aniston to Ivan Reitman came out to support their friend. Many of Clooney's former co-stars, including Don Cheadle, Anna Kendrick, Richard Kind and Juliana Margulies and Bill Murray, also toasted the actor inside the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. However, one person was notably M.I.A.: Julia Roberts.

On May 30, AFI announced the 50-year-old actress would present her longtime friend and frequent co-star with his award. However, a spokesperson for AFI told E! News Thursday night, "Julia Roberts is regretfully unable to attend this evening's AFI Life Achievement Award honoring George Clooney. Ms. Roberts is currently in production and due to a change in schedule, it was not possible to participate as planned." Roberts has appeared opposite Clooney in several films, including Ocean's Eleven, Ocean's Twelve and Money Monster. The Oscar-winning actress starred in Clooney's directorial debut, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.

In Roberts' stead, Shirley MacLaine presented Clooney with the AFI honor. The actress did, however, appear in a pre-taped video, message, as did former U.S. president Barack Obama.

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George Clooney Tears Up During Amal Clooney's Speech for His AFI Life Achievement Award
Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AFI

The actor's father also appeared onstage toward the end of the ceremony.

Clooney, a two-time Oscar winner, had been selected for his versatility, as well as his star power. "I love being a part of this industry and community. I'm very proud of the much overdue changes I'm seeing now, and above all I want to thank everyone who came out tonight to say such beautiful things...and Jimmy Kimmel," he joked onstage. "I love every rotten one of you."