Kiefer Sutherland has commended his ex-fiancée Julia Roberts for having the "courage" to call off their wedding.

Kiefer Sutherland

Kiefer Sutherland

The former couple began dating in 1990 after meeting on the set of horror film 'Flatliners' and got engaged in August of the same year.

But the pair never made it down the aisle with Julia calling off their nuptials in 1991 just three days before they were due to take place and then escaped the furore by jetting off to Ireland.

Kiefer - who, at the time, was accused of having a relationship with a go-go dance an accusation he vehemently denied - thinks Julia made a brave call as it would have been easy to go through with the ceremony.

During an appearance on 'The Jess Cagle Interview', he said: "I think she was being realistic for herself. I think that's much better ... This wedding that was supposed to be something between the two of us became something so big. Then, in the middle of that, I think she had the courage ... it wasn't what she wanted to do, in the end I think it took a lot of courage, even amongst all of that other stuff, to be able to say, 'I can't do this.' "

Kiefer, 49, insists he and Julia, 48, were "very much in love" but their increasing fame and success, especially hers following her role in 'Pretty Woman', got in the way of their relationship.

He mused: "We were young and we were both very much in love, we had decided that we wanted to get married, but then this other thing kind of took over."

Kiefer went on to marry Elizabeth Winn in 1996 but he filed for divorce in 2004.

Julia tied the knot with country singer Lyle Lovett in 1993 before they separated in 1995.

The Oscar winner has been wed to cinematographer Daniel Moder since 2002 and together they have three children, 11-year-old twins Hazel and Phinnaeus and son Henry, nine.