Reese Witherspoon, whose given name is Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on March 22, 1976. Her father, John Witherspoon, was an otolaryngologist and her mother, Betty Reese, a pediatric nurse. She was raised in Germany for the first four years of her life before they settled permanently in Nashville, Tennessee. She has just one older brother, John D. Witherspoon.
Reese began children’s acting classes at the age of 7 and advanced to the adult lessons by the time she was 9. In her early teens, she went to audition as an extra for the film “Man in the Moon”, and wound up landing the lead role, her first big step into the movie business.
Reese’s next breakout role was in the cult favorite “Cruel Intentions”, where she played alongside her future husband, Ryan Phillippe. Reese and Ryan originally met at her 21st birthday party, but fell for each other while filming together. The two married in June of 1999.
On September 9, 1999, the couple welcomed their first child, daughter Ava Elizabeth.
While “Cruel Intentions” put her on the map, the role Reese is most famous for came along in 2001, when she burst on the scene as the bubbly fashionista, Elle Woods, in “Legally Blonde” and “Legally Blonde 2”. In between the two hugely successful movies, Reese and Ryan welcomed their son, Deacon, on October 23, 2003.
She starred in several other films before giving her Oscar-winning performance as June Carter in “Walk the Line”. This daring actress never sticks with the same type of character or genre of movie. She once explained how she picks her next movie:
“I have a weird process, but the main thing is like this: I hear her voice in my head. There are a lot of wonderful scripts my agents can’t believe I pass on, but I do because I can’t hear the voice. It doesn’t appeal to me then. I’m really careful. Unless I hear the voice, I can’t do it.”
Reese and Ryan separated in 2007, with their divorce finalized in 2008, but they continue to co-parent their children as a team.
Along with being a very hands-on mom, she is also active with a number of great causes. The proceeds from her “Legally Blonde 2” Barbie doll are donated to the Children’s Defense Fund and she also works with Toy Mountain Campaign and the Film Foundation’s “Kiss for a Cause” campaign.
Reese announced her engagement to agent Jim Toth on December 29, 2010.
DOB: March 22, 1976
Children: Ava Phillippe 9/9/99 Deacon Phillippe 10/23/03
Marriage: Ryan Phillippe June 5, 1999 – June 2008