The year was 1994. The movie was I Love Trouble. The reviews were… not good. But, hey, perhaps that was due to the lack of chemistry between the film’s two stars. When Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte starred in the romantic comedy I Love Trouble together, a lot was said about whether they got along on set, including by the actors themselves. In fact, at one point, Nolte called Roberts, often referred to as “America’s Sweetheart,” “not a nice person.”
But, that’s just scratching the surface of the tension that existed between these two stars. Read on to find out why they clashed and how they trashed each other in public.
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In 1993, when I Love Trouble was still in production, Roberts was interviewed by The New York Times and discussed working with Nolte.
“From the moment I met him we sort of gave each other a hard time,” Roberts said, “and naturally we get on each other’s nerves.” She continued that Nolte could be “completely charming and very nice,” but, “he’s also completely disgusting. He’s going to hate me for saying this, but he seems go out of his way to repel people. He’s a kick.”
Nolte responded to Roberts calling him “disgusting” in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
“It’s not nice to call someone ‘disgusting,'” he said (via The Independent). “But she’s not a nice person. Everyone knows that.”
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Days after I Love Trouble was released, the Los Angeles Times published a report about how issues between Nolte and Roberts “may account for the less-than-sparkling chemistry that some reviewers have complained about.” Sources said that Nolte annoyed Roberts and that, in response, she would “deride and insult” him. The sources also claimed that the stars acted with stand-ins more often than they did with each other.
In a statement, Nolte’s representative claimed that he and Roberts were having little spats that were normal for actors working together. A spokesperson for Roberts also claimed that there was no major conflict between them and pointed to a quote Roberts had given to Entertainment Weekly: “We had great, um, high-spirited needling of each other, trying to get a rise out of each other.”
I Love Trouble crashed and burned with critics. The movie—which is about rival newspaper reporters who have to team up—has a 22% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The Chicago Tribune‘s review said that the film was “a major disappointment given the casting of Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte and the track record of its writer-director team, Charles Shyer and Nancy Meyers.” The Los Angeles Times wrote that Roberts was “thoughtlessly misused” and worried about the future of her career: “Unless everyone concerned wakes up and remembers what her celebrity is based on, Roberts’ career could end up in considerable trouble itself.”
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