Reese Witherspoon is an award-winning actress, producer, and businesswoman, born on March 22, 1976. With her debut as a teenager in the acclaimed movie “The Man in the Moon,” she achieved massive success in subsequent performances, earning an Academy Award, two Golden Globes, a British Academy Film Award (BAFTA), a Primetime Emmy, and more. The highest-paid actress in 2019, she has twice been listed among “Time” magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People in the World,’ and among the ‘World’s 100 Most Powerful Women’ by “Forbes.” Celebrate the birthday of this multi-talented actress with some fun trivia on her life and career.
The vivacious and charming Oscar-winning actress, producer, and businesswoman Reese Witherspoon was born on March 22, 1976, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her father, John Draper Witherspoon, a doctor, was also a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve while her mother, Mary Elizabeth Witherspoon, was a Professor of Nursing at Vanderbilt University. Witherspoon has one older brother, John D. Witherspoon, who she credits for her sense of adventure. Her sun sign is Aries. An avid reader right from a young age, Witherspoon was a self-proclaimed dork and quite the multi-achiever. The acting bug bit her when she was a mere seven years old. She enrolled in acting lessons after being selected as a florist’s model. She continued to study, attending high school in Nashville’s all-girls Harpeth Hall School, where she was also a cheerleader. While she did enroll as a literature major at Stanford University, she left school midway to pursue a full-fledged acting career.
Her first role came to her by accident. Auditioning for a bit part in 1991 for “The Man in the Moon,” Witherspoon found herself cast in the lead, a role for which she received widespread critical acclaim. The same year, she was cast in another television movie alongside Patricia Arquette, “Wildflower.” Over the next few years, Witherspoon continued to appear in film and television productions, including “Freeway” with Kiefer Sutherland in 1996 and “Pleasantville” alongside Tobey Maguire in 1999. The latter also won her the Young Hollywood Award for Best Female Breakthrough Performance. Success also came to Witherspoon from her starring role as the naïve Annette in the movie “Cruel Intentions,” in which she co-starred with her then-husband, Ryan Phillippe. Her role as Tracy Flick in the 1999 movie “Election” also led to her first Golden Globes nomination. In the same year, she also had a guest appearance in the sitcom “Friends,” as Jennifer Aniston’s sister. Following the success of “Election,” Witherspoon struggled to find suitable roles due to typecasting. It was in 2001 that she tasted massive box office success with her role in “Legally Blonde,” the first of a franchise that would establish her as a rom-com star. In 2005, she was cast as June Carter Cash in “Walk the Line,” the acclaimed biopic of singer Johnny Cash, taking home her first Oscar, a Golden Globe, and other awards. Following a two-year lull, she returned with the thriller “Rendition” and followed up with romantic comedies. Following a brief relationship with actor Jake Gyllenhaal, she married Jim Toth, a talent agent, on March 26, 2011. Together, they have a son, born in 2012. Then, taking charge of her career, in 2012, Witherspoon launched her own production company, Pacific Standard, later part of Hello Sunshine, the media company she co-founded. Under the banner, in 2014 she produced “Gone Girl,” the acclaimed movie based on Gillian Flynn’s novel of the same name. Later in the year, Witherspoon went on to produce and star in “Wild,” the Oscar-nominated biographical movie. In 2017, she also made her television debut with the series “Big Little Lies,” producing and starring in the award-winning show, and is currently starring in “The Morning Run.”
A resident of California, Witherspoon is also a doting mother to her three children, two of whom she shares with her first husband, Phillippe. Aside from being a stellar actress, Witherspoon is also a successful businesswoman and philanthropist in her own right. Her media company Hello Sunshine brings female-oriented stories to the mainstream. Channeling her love for reading, she also runs Reese’s Book Club, recommending a book each month. Showing off her multi-talented persona, Witherspoon also authored a book in 2018, “Whiskey in a Teacup,” a lifestyle publication inspired by her Southern roots. Witherspoon is also known for supporting Save the Children and the Avon Foundation, which focuses on breast cancer research and preventing domestic violence.
Starring in “The Man in the Moon,” she wins critical acclaim for her debut performance in the coming-of-age movie.
“Fear” and “Freeway” become her big-ticket roles, establishing her as one of the upcoming stars of the year.
Witherspoon plays Tracy Flick, an ambitious high school student, and is nominated for her first award.
Witherspoon becomes an overnight success playing the role of a witty, bubbly fashion-merchandising Harvard Law major in “Legally Blonde.”
Witherspoon wins her second nomination for her poignant portrayal of June Carter Cash in “Walk The Line.”
Witherspoon flies high in her own production and is nominated for an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and a Screen Actors’ Guild Award.
Why We Love Reese Witherspoon
She comes across as likable
Witherspoon has endeared herself to women everywhere with her extremely charming girl-next-door persona. From being a doting mom to sharing food recipes, she appears very modest, gracious, and friendly, which adds to her appeal as a movie star.
She loves books
Witherspoon’s love for books and her revelation that she was a dork at school make her seem more relatable to more people. Her Instagram accounts often feature book recommendations, and she also runs a book club where she promotes female writers.
She is a champion for women
Through her business ventures as well as her public actions, Witherspoon has been furthering the cause of women. She was also at the forefront of the Time’s Up movement and has been actively bridging the gender pay gap in Hollywood.
5 Surprising Facts
She has a tattoo on her stomach
In 2011, Witherspoon was spotted on holiday with a star with birds on either side.
She was suspended from third grade
Witherspoon got caught selling hair accessories to her classmates for profit.
She kept clothes from “Legally Blonde”
Once shooting finished, Witherspoon took home about 60 outfits belonging to her character, Elle Woods.
She has stage fright
Witherspoon is scared of performing in front of live audiences, which is why she did not reprise her role as Rachel Green’s sister on “Friends.”
She didn’t wear makeup for “Wild”
For her Oscar-nominated role in the movie, she ditched cosmetics for a natural look at the behest of the director Jean-Marc Vallee.
Reese Witherspoon FAQs
Who are Reese Witherspoon’s sons?
Witherspoon has two sons, Deacon Phillippe with her ex-husband Ryan Phillippe, and Tennessee James Toth with her present husband Jim Toth.
What is the age difference between Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon?
Aniston is seven years older than Witherspoon, who is also her co-star in the show “The Morning Run.”
How old was Reese Witherspoon when she had her first child?
Witherspoon had her first child, her daughter Ava Elizabeth Phillippe, at the age of 23 in the year 1999.
Reese Witherspoon’s birthday dates