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Julia Roberts breaks silence on half-sister's death of apparent drug overdose

Julia Roberts arrives at the Oscars on Sunday,

Julia Roberts arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Credit: AP / Dan Steinberg

Julia Roberts has broken her silence on the death of her estranged half-sister, Nancy Motes, who died Feb. 9 of what the family said was "an apparent drug overdose."

"It's just heartbreak," the Academy Award-winner, 46, told The Wall Street Journal's lifestyle magazine, WSJ, in an interview conducted March 1 and published Monday. Described as tearing up, she added, "It's only been 20 days. There aren't words to explain what any of us have been through in these last 20 days. It's hour by hour some days, but you just keep looking ahead."

Motes, the daughter of Roberts' mother Betty Lou and stepfather, Michael Motes, was a former "Glee" production assistant when she died at age 37. Roberts, upon hearing the news, did not attend a scheduled Academy Awards luncheon that day in order to be with her family, her representative told E! News at the time. The "Pretty Woman" and "August: Osage County" star remained publicly silent.

"You don't want anything bad to happen to anyone, but there are so many tragic, painful, inexplicable things in the world," she told WSJ. "But [as with] any situation of challenge and despair, we must find a way, as a family. It's so hard to formulate a sentence about it outside the weepy huddle of my family."

Roberts did not address the nature of her relationship with her half-sister, which has been described as rocky.

Roberts is married to cinematographer Danny Moder, with whom she has three children.

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