Julie: I'm living the life of my dreams, but probably not one beyond. When I was 10 or 15, I had very big ideas for myself. I was a pretty dreamy little girl. I had a lot of chutzpah then. But to answer your question, I am really...I guess the word is happy.
Oprah: Happy is a good word.
Julie: I'm pretty fulfilled. I have a very good partner whom I live and work with, and we've been together 20 years. We've always been very excited about our work. That's how we fell in love.
Oprah: You're one of those people who has really pushed yourself to live in your fullness—someone who doesn't always play it safe. Did your parents also give you that characteristic?
Julie: Yes, my mother was okay with me not playing it safe. She made an agreement with my father that I was going to be raised differently than my brother and sister were. My parents went through the whole sixties rebellion with my brother and sister. But I didn't feel like I had to rebel because I didn't have anyone telling me I couldn't do something. I never went into that parents-as-enemies stage. The only challenge we had was sex. When I was 14, I had a boyfriend who was 17, and my parents were worried that I'd get pregnant. I told them, "I want to go away with John—and believe me, I'm not going to get pregnant." They said no, but I went anyway and told them I was with a girlfriend. When I came home, I said to my parents, "You made me lie because you couldn't trust me." And that was the end of that: It never happened again. They completely trusted me.
Oprah: How can each of us come closer to living on the edge of ourselves the way you do?
Julie: You just have to throw fear out the window. If there's anything that's going to hold you back, it's fear.
Oprah: Does the commercial success of The Lion King put pressure on you as you work on new projects?
Julie: No, it's a relief. I feel like I've done that, it's nice, and I don't have to do it again. Right after I finished The Lion King, I went to work on Titus. The last thing I would have done was another large musical to see if I could better myself or still be loved.
Oprah: So you live fearlessly.
Julie: Yes. I don't want to sound like a heroic woman or to seem full of myself, but I do have a core of trust that I'll figure things out and find my way. And if whatever I try is not a good experience, even that is a good experience. If something turns out lousy, it's interesting.
We Hear You!