Reese Witherspoon Undressed
Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon (born March 22, 1976) is an Academy Award-winning American actress best known for her roles in ''Election'', ''Cruel Intentions'', ''Legally Blonde'', ''Just Like Heaven'' and ''Walk the Line.
Witherspoon was born in New Orleans, Louisiana to John Witherspoon, a surgeon from Georgia who grew up in Nashville, and Betty Reese, a nurse and college professor from Harriman, Tennessee. She is a direct descendant of Scottish-born John Witherspoon, a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence and sixth president of Princeton University, who was also a Presbyterian minister. Because her father worked for the US military in Wiesbaden, Germany, she lived there for four years as a small child. After returning to the United States, Witherspoon spent much of her childhood and adolescence in Nashville, Tennessee, where, she says in Interview magazine, "I grew up in an environment where women accomplished a lot. And if they weren't able to it was because they were limited by society. I grew up with a grandma--my father's mother--who was incredibly intelligent but was limited by the bounds of society and propriety ... She was a voracious reader, and she encouraged me to read a lot as a child ..." a woman whose "depression" and "disconnect between her capabilities and her lack of fulfillment and achievement" continues to motivate Witherspoon in life. She has an older brother, John, who works as a real estate broker. After graduating from the prestigious private all-girl's Harpeth Hall School in Nashville, she attended Stanford University as a literature major. After completing a year of her studies, she left Stanford to pursue her acting career.
Recently, Witherspoon has been featured as one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People. Her article was written by friend and fellow costar in the Legally Blonde movies, Luke Wilson.
Witherspoon also runs a production company, Type A Productions. Some believe the company is named after her childhood nickname "Little Miss Type A," but she clarified the misconception in Interview: "People think I named it after myself ... But it just isn't who I am at all. It was actually an in-joke with my family because at 7 I understood complicated medical terms, such as the difference between type A and type B personalities. But I just wished I'd named the company Dogfood Films or Fork or something. You carry that baggage all your life."
Witherspoon has commented on her motivation to act. "Sometimes I think it's about acknowledgment. I always felt like people didn't understand me what I was capable of or what I could accomplish. I was driven to make people understand that I was capable of more ... But for me part of the experience of acting is that it is really moving--it's almost meditative, going into a different character. You lose all self-consciousness and self-awareness for that brief moment. It's really magical. Of course, it can also be drudgery if you can't connect with the material or director."
Witherspoon met actor Ryan Phillippe at her 21st birthday party in March 1997, where, having consumed "seven Midori sours," she said to him, "I think you're my birthday present." The pair got engaged in December 1998. Soon after, the couple starred together in the box office hit Cruel Intentions. They were married on a plantation in Charleston, South Carolina on June 5, 1999. They have two children: daughter Ava Elizabeth, born September 9, 1999, and son Deacon, born October 23, 2003. Ava is named after Phillippe's grandmother, and Deacon after one of his distant relatives. Witherspoon and Phillippe have a pact that one of them will always be a full-time parent to the children, and they thus alternate filming schedules. The family resides in Los Angeles, where Witherspoon says she and her children enjoy the good weather outside and which she defends in Interview by proclaiming "people really rag on L.A., and I think it's because they're looking in the wrong places."
Witherspoon is known as a very hands-on mother, and she and her husband claim to have never employed a full-time nanny. A self-identified Southerner who has credited her family with fomenting her imagination and love for storytelling and privacy, she told the aforesaid magazines that her parental philosophy has roots in her upbringing. "We weren't the kind of children that were shadowed. We didn't have nannies. We didn't have housekeepers. This whole L.A. culture is so foreign to me, because when I was growing up you wouldn't watch your children every moment. I'm always confused when people bring their children over and then want to sit with them while they play. I think part of the joy of being a child is privacy. Your fantasies and dreams are so important to you at that moment."