The Truth About Reese Witherspoon’s Difficult Transition Into Motherhood At 22

Actress and producer Reese Witherspoon is an Academy Award, British Academy Film Award, a Primetime Emmy Award, and Golden Globe winner.

The Walk The Line star is consistently ranked among the world’s highest-paid actresses. During her phenomenal rise to fame, Witherspoon became a mother at 22.

Reese Witherspoon Became A First Time Mom The Same Year ‘Cruel Intentions’ Was Released

Reese Witherspoon first met fellow actor Ryan Philippe at her 21st birthday party in March 1997. The pair became engaged in December 1998 and married on June 5, 1999, at Old Wide Awake Plantation in Hollywood, South Carolina.


Witherspoon and Philippe both starred in 1999 teen drama Cruel Intentions and welcomed Ava Elizabeth the same year. Witherspoon was just 22 and Philippe was 24. The couple later welcomed Deacon Reese Philippe in 2003 before divorcing in 2007. On having a baby at 22, Witherspoon told Elle, “It was so hard … living [away from my family]. I really didn’t have any friends. And I had a baby. No one else who was 22 had a baby.”

“I did not have a lot of support with my first baby and I learned really early, like this is not going to work,“ she explained. ”I tried to muscle through for five months with Ava, just not sleeping and I became delirious.”

The 46-year-old actress also revealed that she “couldn’t have worked” through the first few months she became a mom to Ava. ”I was lucky enough to have money saved and I didn’t have to work, but it’s just not a one-person job. I would even say it’s not a two-person job,” Witherspoon added.

“I didn‘t know if I was going to have steady work — I’d made movies, but I hadn’t established myself as someone who could demand that it shoots close to my kid’s school,” she said. ”I didn’t have any real power or leverage within my industry,” the mom-of-three continued.

“I think I was just trying to figure it out like every other mom, dad, partner, or grandparent who’s raising a child. There’s a lot of compromise, you take the food out of your mouth, the clothes off your back, the sleep out of your life — but every bit of that sacrifice is truly worth it,” Witherspoon explained.

Reese Witherspoon Describes Early Motherhood As ‘Scary’

In a 2019 YouTube video, Witherspoon opened up about having Ava and Deacon when she was young. “I’ve been a mom since 1999. I got pregnant [with Ava] when I was 22. I delivered when I was 23. To be totally honest, it was scary. I was scared,” Witherspoon admitted. “I didn’t know what it was going to do to my job or my career. Your entire life will change.”

But ultimately, the actress said it was for the best. “I find having little kids is more physical and it’s just really hard on your body. So I am glad that I had kids kind of young,” she said.

This isn’t the first time Witherspoon has been candid about having a daughter at a young age. On the Drew Barrymore show last year, she admitted that she was terrified to become a mom at 22-years-old. “I got pregnant when I was 22 years old, and I didn’t know how to balance work and motherhood. You just do it.”

Reese Witherspoon And Ryan Philippe Do Not Want Their Kids To See ‘Cruel Intentions’

Now Ava is 22 and a UC Berkeley student and Deacon, 18 is a high school graduate, their parents aren’t exactly keen for them to see Cruel Intentions. Ryan Philippe played the lead and Reese Witherspoon’s toxic love interest in the 1999 R-rated cult teen film. Over the years the Hollywood stars have expressed in media interviews their reluctance to show Cruel Intentions to their kids due to its mature content, which includes a sex scene between the former couple.

Related: Does Deacon Reese Phillippe Get Along With His Lookalike Sister Ava?

“You know, I haven’t checked back in with them about it now that they’re both of age,” Philippe told E! News recently. “I don’t know if it would be creepy for them, you know? In some ways, like if I were to think about watching my parents do some of the things that their parents do in that movie, it wouldn’t be the most appetizing or appealing notion.”

Related: Reese Witherspoon Made $15 Million For A Movie That Lost $72 Millions, Here’s What Happened

In February 2010, Witherspoon began dating Jim Toth, a talent agent and co-head of motion picture talent at Creative Artists Agency, where she is a client. They announced their engagement that December and married on March 26, 2011, in Ojai, California, at Libbey Ranch.

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