Reese Witherspoon Reveals Her Past Relationship Was Abusive: ‘I Was Really Young’

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Reese Witherspoon is one of the most successful women in Hollywood today, but once upon a time, she was a young girl suffering from an abusive relationship. The Oscar winner recently revealed that she was a “different person” back then and that getting out of that situation changed her life, ABC News reported.

In a new interview with Oprah Winfrey for SuperSoul Sunday, Reese Witherspoon was asked about the most difficult decision she ever had to make to fulfill her destiny. After pausing for a while, the 41-year-old actress answered that it was “leaving an abusive relationship.”

“I could never have been the person that I am today,” Reese Witherspoon said.

“It changed who I was on a cellular level, the fact that I stood up for myself. I didn’t have self-esteem and I’m a different person now. And it’s part of the reason I can stand up and say, ‘Yes, I’m ambitious,’ because someone tried to take that from me.”

The Big Little Lies star confessed that this previous relationship was both verbally and psychologically abusive. Reese added that it happened when she was “really young.”

“I drew a line in the sand, and it got crossed, and my brain just switched. I couldn’t go any further. I was really young, and it was profound.”

Reese Witherspoon reveals her past relationship was abusive
Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Philippe in 2006.Featured image credit: Evan AgostiniGetty Images

Because the actress chose not to say who this ex of hers was, fans could only speculate. Her most high-profile relationship was her seven-year marriage to Ryan Philippe, who she met in 1997 when she was only 21-years-old. The two got married in 1999 but called it quits seven years and two children later.

But before Ryan Philippe, Reese also had a string of famous exes as a teenager. According to People, Reese Witherspoon was an “up-and-coming” teen star at 16 when it was rumored that she was dating Chris O’Donnell. She was also linked to other Hollywood actors including Mark Wahlberg and Stephen Dorff. She is now married to talent agent Jim Toth.

According to Reese, her difficult past with this ex-boyfriend was a driving force behind her decision to produce and star in Big Little Lies. The award-winning HBO series, adapted from the Liane Moriarty novel, deals with domestic violence, sexual abuse, and other issues related to women.

“It was incredible when we did Big Little Lies. We would sit around with all the women…Each one of us had very specific experiences,” Reese stated.

“There wasn’t a woman there that wasn’t affected by abuse.”

Reese Witherspoon stars in HBO's 'Big Little Lies'
Reese Witherspoon with 'Big Little Lies' co-stars Laura Dern and Nicole Kidman at the 2018 Critics Choice Awards.Featured image credit: Christopher PolkGetty Images for The Critics' Choice Awards

Reese Witherspoon is also a fierce advocate of the Me Too and Time’s Up movements in Hollywood. Last October, she joined other actresses by bravely coming forward to admit that she was assaulted by a director when she was starting out in the industry.

Reese Witherspoon’s recent interview with Oprah Winfrey also includes actress Mindy Kaling. The three women star in Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time. The science fantasy adventure film will hit theaters in March.