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Emma Roberts

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This article is about the American actress. For the English author, see Emma Roberts (author).
Emma Roberts
Emma Roberts at PaleyFest 2014 - 13491476823.jpg
Born Emma Rose Roberts
(1991-02-10) February 10, 1991 (age 24)
Rhinebeck, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actress, singer
Years active 2001–present
Parent(s) Eric Roberts
Kelly Cunningham
Relatives Julia Roberts (aunt)
Lisa Roberts Gillan (aunt)
Kelly Nickels (stepfather)

Emma Rose Roberts (born February 10, 1991) is an American actress and singer. After small roles in films such as Blow (2001), she rose to prominence with her role as Addie Singer in the Nickelodeon television series Unfabulous (2004–07), for which she was nominated for a Teen Choice Award and six Young Artist Awards. She released her debut album, which also served as the show's soundtrack, Unfabulous and More in 2005.

After Unfabulous ended, Roberts starred in films including Aquamarine (2006), as the title character in Nancy Drew (2007) and Wild Child (2008). Looking for more mature roles, she appeared in the drama Lymelife (2009) and appeared in films in a variety of genres. She was part of the acting ensemble with her aunt Julia Roberts in Valentine's Day (2010) and played leading roles in the crime thriller (2010), the horror film Scream 4 (2011), the comedy We're the Millers (2013), and the drama Palo Alto (2013). Also in 2013, she returned to television, playing the witch Madison Montgomery in American Horror Story: Coven, the third season of the American Horror Story series. She starred in the show's fourth season, American Horror Story: Freak Show, as Maggie Esmerelda, a con artist posing as a fortune teller.

Early life[edit]

Roberts was born in Rhinebeck, New York.[1] She is the daughter of actor Eric Roberts and Kelly Cunningham,[2] the stepdaughter of Eliza Roberts and Kelly Nickels, and the niece of actresses Julia Roberts and Lisa Roberts Gillan. Her paternal grandmother was Betty Lou Bredemus (1934-2015), and she also has a half sister, Grace.[3] During her childhood, Roberts spent time on the sets of her aunt Julia Roberts' films. These experiences sparked a desire in Emma, from the age of five, to follow her father and aunts into the film industry.[3] Her mother initially wanted her to have a normal childhood.[4]

Acting career[edit]

2001–05: Early career[edit]

Roberts made her acting debut at age nine in Ted Demme's 2001 drama film Blow. It was the first film for which she ever auditioned.[4] In the film, she portrayed Kristina Jung, the daughter of Johnny Depp's character (cocaine smuggler George Jung). That year, she also had a role in Leif Tilden's 10-minute short bigLove, and was an uncredited extra in some scenes featuring her aunt Julia Roberts in America's Sweethearts.[5]

She went on to appear in smaller roles in two family films: in 2002's Grand Champion, as the sister of the main character Buddy (Jacob Fisher); and in 2003's Spymate, as the kidnapped daughter of former secret agent Mike Muggins (Chris Potter), who tries to rescue her with the help of a spy monkey. Grand Champion had a brief theatrical release in August 2004,[6] while Spymate was not released until February 2006, when it was given a theatrical run in Canada,[7] followed by its DVD release in April 2006. In August 2003, Roberts was scheduled to shoot an independent film called Daisy Winters, starring as the title character, alongside Rachel Weisz.[8] However, the film, which would have been Roberts' first leading role, never began shooting due to financial problems.

In 2004, Roberts began[9] starring as the lead character Addie Singer in the Nickelodeon series Unfabulous, which debuted in September of that year. The sitcom earned Roberts a Teen Choice Award nomination and several Young Artist Award nominations.[10] The show aired for three seasons from 2004 to 2007 and aired 42 episodes, ultimately ending in December 2007. The television series focused on a seventh grader, Addie Singer (Roberts), and her two best friends. The show had had various TV movies, including The Perfect Moment. In 2004, Roberts guest-starred in an episode of the Nickelodeon series Drake and Josh in the episode "Honor Council". After her run on Unfabulous, Nickelodeon had considered giving Roberts a kickstart into a music career.[11]

2006–12: Theatrical films[edit]

In 2006, Roberts returned to the big screen, starring alongside Sara Paxton and singer JoJo in Aquamarine. She won a 2007 Young Artist Award for Best Supporting Young Actress in a Feature Film for her role in the film.[12] The film Aquamarine took fifth place at the box office in its opening weekend making $8 million.[13] In early 2006, Roberts finished shooting her title role in Nancy Drew. The film was released to theaters on June 15, 2007, and grossed over $7 million in its opening weekend,[14] though the film was not well received by critics.[15] Roberts was set to reunite with Nancy Drew director Andrew Fleming on both Rodeo Gal[16] and a Nancy Drew sequel in 2007, but these films were never made.[17][18] In 2008, she had her voiceover debut when she voiced the English version of the character Wilma in the CGI-animated family film The Flight Before Christmas.[19]

In 2009, Roberts starred alongside Jake T. Austin in Hotel for Dogs,[20] based on the novel by Lois Duncan. The film premiered in January 2009, and took fifth place in its opening weekend with over $17 million. The film has to-date grossed over $114 million, and received generally mixed reviews from critics.[21] Roberts starred as the lead in the film Wild Child,[22] about a rebellious teen from Malibu, California sent to a boarding school in England. Roberts described her character as "pretty much your typical spoiled-brat Malibu socialite who gets shipped off to British boarding school."[23] Roberts also appeared in the indie film Lymelife with Alec Baldwin, which was premiered at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival. Roberts said that Lymelife is "kind of like American Beauty meets The Ice Storm,"[23] and that her reasoning for doing the film was that: "Some people look at me and think, 'She's just Julia Roberts' niece.' So I wanted to do something smaller and edgier, something that would show I really am an actress."[23]

Roberts in October 2011

In 2010, Roberts co-starred as Grace in the film Valentine's Day in which her aunt, Julia Roberts also appeared, although they were never together on-screen. She also appeared that year in Twelve and It's Kind of a Funny Story.[24] The following year, she co-starred in the film adaptation of Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac. She also starred alongside with Freddie Highmore in the romantic comedy The Art of Getting By.[25][26] In 2011, she played the role of Jill Roberts in the Wes Craven film Scream 4.[27][28]

In February 2012, Roberts began filming a new movie in Syracuse, New York titled Adult World. The film also took place in Syracuse and co-starred John Cusack and Evan Peters. Roberts played a recent college graduate who works at an adult bookstore to make ends meet. The actress has said that most of her lines were ad-libbed so her reactions in the film were completely genuine.[29] Roberts appears in a supporting role in Dustin Lance Black's Virginia, which received a limited theatrical release in May 2012 after a two and a half year delay. She next appeared in the 2012 film Celeste and Jesse Forever, parodying pop stars such as Kesha with her performance as Riley Banks, an incurious blonde singer. Roberts said in an interview that her role as Banks tempted her to write an album of songs using her character as an alter ego.[30]


On February 7, 2013, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Roberts had been cast to star in a pilot for Fox called Delirium, based on the Lauren Oliver novels. Roberts portrayed Lena Haloway, the protagonist, but Fox decided not to pick up the show.[31][32] Roberts then starred in the comedy film We're the Millers, alongside Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis. It was released on August 7, 2013. The film received mixed reviews from critics and was a financial success, grossing over $269 million against a budget of $37 million.[33] She next appeared in the third season of the horror anthology series American Horror Story from late 2013 through January 2014. Roberts portrayed a self-involved party girl named Madison Montgomery, who also happens to be a telekinetic witch.[34] She then portrayed Maggie Esmerelda, a con artist posing as a fortune teller, in the fourth season, American Horror Story: Freak Show.

Roberts played the lead role in Gia Coppola's directorial debut, Palo Alto (2013), based on James Franco's short story collection of the same name. The film was released in May 2014 to generally positive reviews, with particular praise for Roberts' performance. Tom Shone of The Guardian and Ian Freer of Empire both called her the "standout" of the film,[35] with Freer praising her performance for being "heartbreaking as she suggests longings and anxieties without over-hyping it. Much like the film itself."[36] Roberts has also been confirmed as a cast member on the first season of the upcoming Fox series Scream Queens, alongside Jamie Lee Curtis, Lea Michele and Oliver Hudson. The series will be a comedy-horror anthology, and will see involvement by Glee and American Horror Story producers Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Dante Di Loreto. Ian Brennan will also contribute to the series.[37]

Music career[edit]

In 2005, Roberts released a debut album titled Unfabulous and More. The album was released on September 27, 2005, through Columbia Records and Nick Records. It also served as the soundtrack to the television series Unfabulous, in which Roberts starred. The album peaked at number 46 on Billboard '​s Top Heatseekers chart.[38] In September 2005, two promotional singles were released from the album: "I Wanna Be" and "Dummy". The album includes several original songs (among them "Dummy" and "I Wanna Be", both of which were also released as music videos, "I Have Arrived" and "This Is Me", which was co-written by Roberts), as well as some of Addie's songs from the first season, including "Punch Rocker" and "New Shoes" (both from the episode "The Party"), "94 Weeks (Metal Mouth Freak)" (from "The Bar Mitzvah") and "Mexican Wrestler" (which had previously appeared on Jill Sobule's 2000 album Pink Pearl and in the episode "The 66th Day" from Unfabulous). During the same year, Roberts recorded "If I Had It My Way" for the soundtrack of the 2005 Disney film Ice Princess. In 2006, Roberts covered the song "Island in the Sun", which was originally recorded by Weezer in 2001; she recorded the song for the Aquamarine soundtrack, a film in which she starred as one of the leads.

Roberts said in a 2007 interview: "Right now I am focusing on movies. I am getting ready to start a new movie this summer so that is taking a lot of my time. I think when I am a little bit older it is definitely something I'd like to pursue."[39] In another interview, she said: "My musical career is indefinitely on hold. I don't like people who become like 'actor slash singer.' I think people should be one or the other because usually you're not going to be great at both. You're going to better at one, so you might as well stick to the one you're good at. I'm going for acting."[40]

Personal life[edit]

In February 2009, she was named the brand ambassador for Neutrogena, appearing in print and television ads for the company.[41] Roberts has also appeared multiple times as part of Teen Vogue '​s Best Dressed list, including June 2007, September 2008, December 2008 and February 2009.[42]

In September 2011, Roberts began attending Sarah Lawrence College but by January 2012, she had put her studies on hold to concentrate on work commitments.[43]

Roberts, who has previously dated actor Alex Pettyfer, Dathan Kuppin and actor Chord Overstreet,[43][44][45] began dating actor Evan Peters in 2012 after they worked together on the film Adult World.[46] In July 2013, while they were staying at a hotel in Montreal, Quebec, someone overheard a dispute coming from their room and called the police. After a "heated argument", they had begun hitting each other.[47] When the police arrived, they arrested Roberts. Peters was not arrested because Roberts did not have any immediately visible injuries.[48] Peters declined to press charges and Roberts was released several hours later.[49] In a joint statement, the couple called it "an unfortunate incident and misunderstanding," and stated that they "are working together to move past it."[49] They became engaged in December 2013.[50][51]



Year Title Role Notes
2001 Blow Kristina Sunshine Jung
2001 bigLove Delilah Short film
2001 America's Sweethearts Girl in Purple T-shirt Uncredited[citation needed]
2002 Grand Champion Sister
2003 Spymate Amelia Muggins
2006 Aquamarine Claire Brown
2007 Nancy Drew Nancy Drew
2008 The Flight Before Christmas Wilma Voice
2008 Wild Child Poppy Moore
2008 Lymelife Adrianna Bragg
2009 Hotel for Dogs Andi
2009 The Winning Season Abbie
2010 Valentine's Day Grace Smart[52]
2010 Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac Alice Leeds
2010 Twelve Molly Norton
2010 Joanne
2010 It's Kind of a Funny Story Noelle
2010 Virginia Jessie Tipton
2011 Scream 4 Jill Roberts
2011 The Art of Getting By Sally Howe
2012 Celeste and Jesse Forever Riley Banks
2013 Empire State Nancy Michaelides
2013 We're the Millers Casey Matthis
2014 Adult World Amy
2014 Palo Alto April
2015 I Am Michael Rebekah Fuller
2015 Ashby Eloise In post-production


Year Title Role Notes
2004–2007 Unfabulous Addie Singer 41 episodes
2004 Drake & Josh Addie Singer Episode: "Honor Council"
2007 Hills, TheThe Hills Herself Episode: "Young Hollywood"
2010 Jonas L.A. Herself Episode: "House Party"
2010 Take Two with Phineas and Ferb Herself Episode: "Emma Roberts"
2011 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Herself Episode: "The Brown Family"
2013 Family Guy Amanda Barrington (voice) Episode: "No Country Club for Old Men"
2013–2014 American Horror Story: Coven Madison Montgomery 13 episodes
2014–2015 American Horror Story: Freak Show Maggie Esmerelda 10 episodes
2014 Delirium Lena Haloway Unsold TV pilot
2015 Scream Queens Chanel Upcoming series


Soundtrack albums[edit]

List of albums, with selected chart positions
Title Album details Peak

Unfabulous and More
  • Released: September 27, 2005[54]
  • Formats: CD, digital download
  • Label: Columbia, Sony
"—" denotes releases that didn't chart or weren't released in that country.


List of singles
Title Year Album
"I Wanna Be"[55] 2005 Unfabulous and More
"Santa Claus Is Coming to Town"[57] N/A

Other appearances[edit]

Title Year Album
"If I Had It My Way" 2005 Ice Princess
"Island in the Sun" 2006 Aquamarine
"Do It On My Face" 2012 Celeste And Jesse Forever

Music videos[edit]

List of music videos, showing director
Title Year Director Artist Notes
"I Wanna Be" 2005 N/A Herself
"Dummy" Herself
"Go Outside" 2011 Isaiah Seret[58] Cults Guest appearance
"Testosterone" 2012 Petro[59] Haziq and the Giggles Guest appearance

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
2005 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama) – Leading Young Actress Unfabulous Nominated
Outstanding Young Performers in a TV Series Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Breakout Performance – Female Nominated
Kids' Choice Awards, Australia Favorite Rising Star Nominated
2006 Young Artist Award Best Young Ensemble Performance in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama) Nominated
2007 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film – Supporting Young Actress Aquamarine Won
Best Performance in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama) – Leading Young Actress Unfabulous Nominated
ShoWest Female Star Of Tomorrow N/A Won
Kids' Choice Award Favorite TV Actress Unfabulous Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actress: Comedy Nominated
Choice Movie: Female Breakout Nancy Drew Nominated
Choice Movie Actress: Comedy Nominated
Kids' Choice Awards, Australia Favorite Movie Star Aquamarine Nominated
2008 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite TV Actress Unfabulous Nominated
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Series – Leading Young Actress Nominated
Best Young Ensemble Performance in a TV Series Nominated
Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actress Nancy Drew Nominated
Best Performance in a Feature Film – Young Ensemble Cast Nominated
Kids' Choice Awards, Australia Favorite Movie Star Nominated
2010 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actress Hotel For Dogs Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Summer Movie Star: Female Twelve Nominated
2011 Choice Movie Actress: Romantic Comedy The Art of Getting By Nominated
2014 MTV Movie Awards Best Kiss (Shared with: Jennifer Aniston and Will Poulter) We're the Millers Won
Maui Film Festival Shining Star Award[60] N/A Won
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actress: Comedy We're the Millers Won
Choice Movie: Liplock (Shared with: Jennifer Aniston and Will Poulter) Nominated
Candie's Style Icon N/A Nominated


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  3. ^ a b Elaine Lipworth (2005). "Recognise That Smile?". You Magazine (July 24, 2005): 28–31. I'm definitely closer to my mom and stepdad and I don't see my real father much 
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  15. ^ "Nancy Drew". Retrieved January 17, 2008. 
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  17. ^ McClintock, Pamela (March 21, 2007). "Trio clues in to 'Drew' sequel". Variety. Retrieved May 3, 2007. 
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  32. ^ Hibberd, James (May 8, 2013). "Fox rejects 'Delirium' pilot starring Emma Roberts". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 8, 2013. 
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  35. ^ Tom Shone (May 8, 2014). "Palo Alto: 'Away from Emma Roberts, the film drifts' – first look review". The Guardian. Retrieved November 10, 2014. 
  36. ^ Ian Freer (November 2014). "Palo Alto". Empire (Bauer Media) (305): 64. Retrieved March 4, 2015. 
  37. ^ "Jamie Lee Curtis, Emma Roberts Join Ryan Murphy's Scream Queens for Fox". TVLine. December 8, 2014. Retrieved December 9, 2014. 
  38. ^ "Emma Roberts: Artist Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved October 31, 2005. 
  39. ^ Interview conducted by Bonnie Laufer (May 14, 2007). "Emma Roberts one-on-one interview". Tribute Magazine. Retrieved April 30, 2009. 
  40. ^ Celebrity Interview by Jeanne Wolf (January 14, 2009). "Emma Roberts, Not Your Average 'Tween' Star". Parade Magazine. 
  41. ^ "Emma Roberts Named Neutrogena Brand Ambassador". People. February 10, 2009. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  42. ^ "Teen Vogue's Best Dressed list". Teen Vogue. Retrieved May 15, 2013. 
  43. ^ a b "Life & Style Exclusive: Emma Roberts Puts College On Hold". Life & Style. Archived from the original on March 2, 2012. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  44. ^ "Alex Pettyfer had a fling with Julia Roberts niece". August 26, 2008. Retrieved June 5, 2010. 
  45. ^ "Emma Roberts and Chord Overstreet get cozy, but actor Andrew Levitas has an eye on the actress too". May 1, 2011. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  46. ^ "Evan Peters: Fiancée Emma Roberts encouraged me to take role in 'Adult World'". New York Daily News. February 13, 2014. Retrieved November 4, 2014. 
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  49. ^ a b Shira, Dahvi (July 17, 2013). "Did Emma Roberts's Relationship with Evan Peters Turn Violent?". People. Retrieved July 17, 2013. 
  50. ^ "Emma Roberts Engaged to Evan Peters". People. January 6, 2014. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  51. ^ "How Do Emma Roberts and Evan Peters Really Feel About Being Engaged? Watch Now!". E! News. March 31, 2014. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  52. ^ "What's Wrong with Virginia premiere". Toronto Sun. September 16, 2010. Retrieved October 26, 2010. 
  53. ^ "Billboard Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved May 13, 2010. 
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  55. ^ "I Wanna Be by Emma Roberts". SoundCloud. Retrieved May 13, 2010. 
  56. ^ "Dummy by Emma Roberts". SoundCloud. Retrieved May 13, 2010. 
  57. ^ "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town – Single by Emma Roberts". iTunes. Retrieved May 13, 2010. 
  58. ^ "Cults "Go Outside" the Jonestown Tragedy — Video". MTV. Retrieved May 13, 2010. 
  59. ^ "Haziq & The Giggles - Testosterone". Jerry Bland. Retrieved May 13, 2010. 
  60. ^ Iain Blair (June 4, 2014). "Lupita Nyong'o, Emma Roberts Among Maui Film Fest Honorees". Variety. Retrieved June 9, 2014. 

External links[edit]