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Split with Bratt 'tender-hearted'
( 2001-07-12 09:13 ) (7 )

Actress Julia Roberts, speaking publicly for the first time about her surprise split with boyfriend Benjamin Bratt, said their four-year affair had come to a "tender-hearted end" and denied rumors that she was dating heart-throb George Clooney.

A relaxed and playful Roberts gave no details about the break-up with Bratt, which became public two weeks ago and sent the tabloid media into a frenzy.

"It has come to a kind and tender-hearted end and my only regret is that it seems that in some odd form...the media can't accept that it is tender-hearted and kind," Roberts, 33, told CBS TV chat show host David Letterman on Tuesday night.

"It (the media) has to make it messy. It has to be all about me going out with George Clooney, a kind, lovely man but not my boyfriend," she said.

Tabloid news theories have ranged from Bratt initiating the break-up because Roberts would not commit to marriage, to arguments over work schedules and a supposed fling between Roberts and Clooney, her co-star in the upcoming remake of the 1960 movie "Ocean's Eleven".

Roberts' love life has been tabloid fodder since the eleventh-hour end of her engagement to actor Kiefer Sutherland in 1991 and her subsequent two-year marriage to country singer Lyle Lovett.

She met Bratt, who starred on TV's "Law and Order" and in the movie "Miss Congeniality", in 1997 and described herself last year as "ecstatically happy."

Roberts, who won her first Oscar in March, joked with Letterman on Tuesday about being single again. "I'm single. You can say it. I've been practicing in front of the mirror"

She added; "I loved Benjamin. He's a good man, he's a fine man. He is, to the exultation of the female single population, not my man anymore.

"Sad but true, not ugly, not because of anybody else....that's all there is to it. We're both just two kids trying to find our way in the world."



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