Julia McNamara is a main character in the series.
She is portrayed by Joely Richardson.
Julia is the homemaker of the McNamara family. She has long been jealous of her husband, Sean McNamara. She regrets that she got pregnant, with Matt, because it stopped her from going to medical school and becoming a doctor. She would have gone to school after Matt was born, but then she gets pregnant again with Annie and Connor.
During Season 1, Julia struggles with being a parent and her regret for not becoming a doctor. She flushes Annie's living hamster down the toilet and gets kicked out of the PTA. She also starts to show unfaithfulness in her marriage. She has long fantasized over her husband's best friend and business partner, Christian Troy. She even lets Christian touch her bare breasts, in her living room, when she tells him she is thinking of getting breast implants. In the second episode she decides to cheat on her husband and tries to have sex with Christian.
She eventually ends up going back to school so she can pursue her doctorate. This puts a strain on her marriage but Sean goes along with it to make her happy. While at school she meets a classmate named Jude and it seems as if she wants to have an affair with him but she holds back.
Julia drops out of college, and later rallies against her friends when they try and bar MTF transsexual Sofia Lopez from their womens' only gym. At the end of the season, Julia decides to get a paternity test done on her son Matt, determined to find an answer that she has been seeking ever since she first slept with Christian in college. Did she conceive Matt during their night together? Julia discovers the results, but decides to keep quiet for now.
Meanwhile, Julia finds she can only orgasm with Sean when thinking about Christian. After Christian loses baby Wilber in the custody battle, Julia reveals to him that he already has a son: Matt. Sean soon discovers the truth as well, pushing Julia against the freezer and throwing her out of the house. Moving into a small apartment which Erica unsurprisingly mocks, Julia self-destructs, gets a boob job and starts to drink heavily. One drinking binge results in an accident where she falls through a glass door. While undergoing surgery to repair her face and remove her implants, Julia is guided through an alternate universe by life coach Ava Moore, where she sees what her life would be like if she married Christian. While she is rich and a successful plastic surgeon, she is also a coke addict, unable to have children, and unfulfilled by Christian. An attempt to seduce Sean also goes awry. Coming out of her dream, Julia realizes that she's never satisfied with what she has, always wondering how life would be on the other side. Despite remaining problems between her and Sean, they reconnect when Julia requires saving after being attacked by a kinky blind date, and later team up in an effort to protect Matt from his potentially dangerous lover, Ava.
Julia's mother, Erica Noughton, also comes to visit sometimes. The two do not get along as her mother is always trying to bring her down.
In Season 2, Julia reveals that she had a one-night-stand with Christian while they were in college. She was dating Sean at the time and this affair led to the conception of Matt. This finally tears Sean and Julia's tumultuous marriage apart and they get divorced.
Still single, Julia has resorted to paying Jude for sex. She also asks Sean for a divorce. In an effort to bring some purpose to her life, Julia teams up with Gina Russo to create and develop De La Mer, a luxury spa. She also poaches Liz from McNamara/Troy, and the three of them create a signature face cream made of semen which they market to Joan Rivers. While running the spa, Julia is romanced by Sean and Christian's new colleague, bisexual doctor Quentin Costa, who goes to work for her. After discovering his affair with a male soldier, Julia dumps and fires him. After a tumultuous argument with her mother, Julia is shocked to discover that the plane Erica was supposed to board has crashed just after take-off. Julia joins Sean and Christian in helping the many injured victims, and finds a horrifically burned woman who she believes is her mother. Putting her out of her misery, Julia suffocates the woman, later confessing to Sean that she feels free. Returning home, Julia is shocked to discover her mother waiting for her, claiming that she delayed her flight due to their argument. Soon after, Julia discovers she is pregnant with Sean's child, the result of a brief sexual encounter earlier in the year. A terrifying nightmare provokes Julia into getting her unborn baby checked for any deformities.
In Season 4, Julia reveals to Sean that their unborn child is suffering from ectrodactyly, a congenital malformation of the hands. The baby, named Conor, is born but the decision on whether he should undergo plastic surgery creates friction between them. Despite renewing her wedding vows with Sean, Julia starts an affair with Conor's dwarf nanny Marlowe. As she falls deeper in love with Marlowe, she plans to leave for Florence, Italy with him, Annie and Conor. However, Julia eventually decides against this, instead leaving Marlowe to live with her mother in New York City, taking Annie and Connor.
In Season 5, Julia visits Los Angeles and reveals to Sean and Christian that she is currently in a relationship with a woman, Olivia Lord. Olivia encourages Julia to sleep with Christian one last time to "get him out of her system", which she does. After Annie bonds with Olivia's teenage daughter Eden and expresses a desire to go to school with her, Julia permanently moves to the city. Annie and Eden's friendship results in Sean and Julia clashing over Eden's dangerous influence, which results in Annie performing sexual acts on a classmate and worrying about her body image. Julia initially ignores Sean's worry, after Olivia blames Sean's profession for making Annie act out. After a violent encounter with a carjacker, Julia purchases a gun and initiates an affair with Christian. She also threatens Eden after discovering her relationship with Sean. Enraged, Eden begins poisoning Julia with mercury-laced fruitcake. Julia's mystery illness tears apart her affair with Christian, and Julia finally realizes that she wasn't in love with him, but instead in love with a fantasy of him. Olivia returns to Los Angeles, and helps Julia discover that she has mercury poisoning. Julia works out that she had been poisoned through eating the fruitcake and confronts Eden. In desperation Eden uses Julia's gun to shoot her in the head. Julia is rushed to hospital where she is diagnosed with having retrograde amnesia. Visiting her bedside, Sean tells her that he is her husband, and that their family has never been happier.
- Erica Noughton (mother)
- Unnamed father
- Sean McNamara (ex-husband)
- Matt McNamara (son with Christian, Matt was raised to believe he was Sean's son)
- Annie McNamara (daughter with Sean)
- Conor McNamara (son with Sean)
- Jenna McNamara (granddaughter via Matt)
- Olivia Lord (lesbian partner)
- Edmond (fiancee)