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Arts and Entertainment

Julia Roberts' Half-Sister Found Dead In Bathtub In Likely Suicide

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Julia Roberts' half sister Nancy Motes was found dead in a bathtub in Los Angeles on Sunday and the L.A. County Coroner says they're looking at it as a suicide.

The 37-year-old Glee production assistant was found dead around 2 p.m. by her fiancé John Dilbeck in the home she was pet-sitting at, according to NY Daily News. (The couple was supposed to get married in May.) Lieutenant Fred Corral of the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner told Us Weekly that that there were prescription and non-prescription drugs found on the scene. "We're taking it as a suicide, not a drowning," Corral said. However, they are waiting on autopsy reports and toxicology tests to determine the cause of her death.

According to People, Motes' family wrote the following statement about her death:

"It is with deep sadness that the family of Nancy Motes ... confirms that she was found dead in Los Angeles yesterday of an apparent drug overdose," the statement reads. "There is no official report from the Coroner's office yet. The family is both shocked and devastated."
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Motes, who is the daughter of Roberts’ mother Betty Lou and stepfather Michael Motes, had a rocky relationship with Roberts. (The 46-year-old actress cancelled her public appearances for an Academy Awards luncheon and Jimmy Kimmel Live taping after news of the tragedy, reported Us Weekly.) In an interview with the N.Y. Daily News back in August 2013, Motes said Roberts teased her for her weight for years and it pushed her to get gastric bypass surgery to shed nearly 150 pounds from her 300 pounds.

"My weight has fluctuated my entire life," Motes said. "So I just got a lot of criticism from Julia, which was very discouraging for me." She said she hoped she could mend her relationship with Roberts, who did get her a job at Glee.

In the months leading up to Motes' death, she wrote angry and despondent tweets, that have since been taken down from Twitter. According to the Daily News, she posted one on Jan. 19 that read, "Do you want to be a fan of someone so cruel? She's not even that good of an actress. Happy you totally F***ed with me?" Back in October, she tweeted: "It's a shame when you get more support from strangers than you do from your own family. I can't wait to officially belong to another family!"

UPDATE 2/12, 9:05 a.m.: reports that a source close to Roberts says the actress tried to get Motes to go to rehab, even in the last six months, but Motes refused to go. And that's when she would "publicly lash out" at Roberts.

“It hurt Julia, but she knew her sister was battling addiction," the source said. "The addiction to prescription drugs made Nancy a totally different person. There would be periods of sobriety and with that brought clarity. It would be during those moments that the sisters would reconnect. Sadly, of course, those times became less frequent before her death."

UPDATE 2/11, 2:20 p.m: A source close to the investigation told the N.Y. Daily News that Motes did leave a suicide note—and she blamed Roberts for her suicide:

"It was definitely a suicide. She left a five-page suicide letter. The EMT found it," the source told The News. "There were three pages of rantings that her sister drove her to do this. There was one page to her mom, telling her how much she loved her, and one page apologizing to (her fiancé John Dilbeck)," the source said.

If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide: do not leave the person alone, remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt, and call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.