Reese Witherspoon facts: Actress's age, movies, husband, children and career explained

14 July 2023, 10:59

Reese Witherspoon in 2019
Reese Witherspoon in 2019. Picture: Getty

By Tom Owen

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Reese Witherspoon emerged as one of the biggest Hollywood stars of the 1990s and 2000s.

The American actress made her debut in the early '90s, before her breakthrough roles in Cruel Intentions and Election in 1999.

Reese Witherspoon then found international fame for playing Elle Woods in the comedy Legally Blonde (2001) and its 2003 sequel, followed by the romcom Sweet Home Alabama (2002).

In 2005, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for portraying June Carter Cash in the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line.

Reese made a comeback in the 2014 drama Wild, giving her a second Oscar nomination. In recent years, she has focused on TV, including Big Little Lies opposite Nicole Kidman (2017–2019), The Morning Show opposite Jennifer Aniston (2019–present), and Little Fires Everywhere (2020).

She has also produced the film adaptations Gone Girl (2014) and Where the Crawdads Sing (2022), and the TV series Daisy Jones & the Six (2023) starring Riley Keough.

Reese is also an entrepreneur, running her TV production company Hello Sunshine, and her clothing company Draper James. She is also involved in children's and women's advocacy organizations.

  1. How old is Reese Witherspoon and where was she born?

    Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde
    Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde. Picture: Getty

    Full name Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon, she was born on March 22, 1976. She celebrated her 47th birthday in 2023.

    She was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, while her father, John Draper Witherspoon, was a student at Tulane University's medical school. Her father was a lieutenant in the United States Army Reserve and a native of Georgia. Up until 2012, he worked as an otolaryngologist in private practice.

    Mary Elizabeth 'Betty' Witherspoon, her mother, is from Harriman, Tennessee (née Reese). She has a PhD in paediatric nursing and was a professor of nursing at Vanderbilt University.

  2. How did she get her start in acting?

    Reese Witherspoon in the early 1990s
    Reese Witherspoon in the early 1990s. Picture: Getty

    Reese Witherspoon graduated from Nashville's all-girls Harpeth Hall School, where she was a cheerleader, and went to Harding Academy for middle school. Later, she specialised in English literature at Stanford University, but she left before finishing her degree to pursue a career in acting.

    Reese went to an open casting call for The Man in the Moon in 1991 with the intention of getting a small role; however, she ended up getting the main part of Dani Trant, a 14-year-old rural girl who falls in love for the first time with her 17-year-old neighbour.

    Sweet Home Alabama - trailer

    She received a nomination for a Young Artist Award in the category of Best Young Actress for her performance.

    Later that year, she co-starred in Wildflower alongside Patricia Arquette in her first TV appearance. She then played a seriously ill young girl in the 1992 TV movie Desperate Choices: To Save My Child.

  3. Is Reese Witherspoon married and how many kids does she have?

    Reese Witherspoon and first husband Ryan Phillippe in 2005
    Reese Witherspoon and first husband Ryan Phillippe in 2005. Picture: Getty

    On her 21st birthday in March 1997, Reese Witherspoon first met actor Ryan Phillippe. The pair got married in June 1999, in Hollywood, after being engaged in December 1998.

    Ava Elizabeth Phillippe, born in September 1999, and Deacon Reese Phillippe, born in October 2003, are their two children together.

    Reese and Ryan confirmed their breakup in 2006, alleging irreconcilable differences. She also filed for shared legal custody and exclusive physical custody of their two children, and asked the court to deny Phillippe spousal support due to the lack of a prenuptial agreement.

    Reese Witherspoon and her children Ava and Deacon in 2019
    Reese Witherspoon and her children Ava and Deacon in 2019. Picture: Getty
    Reese Witherspoon and second husband Jim Toth in 2020
    Reese Witherspoon and second husband Jim Toth in 2020. Picture: Getty

    The couple's marriage was formally dissolved in 2007, and the final divorce proceedings were concluded a year later. The pair have shared custody of their kids.

    From 2007 to 2009, Reese was romantically linked to actor Jake Gyllenhaal.

    In 2011, she announced her engagement to talent agent Jim Toth, and got married that year at her home in Ojai, California.

    Tennessee James Toth, their son, was born in 2012.

    After 11 years of marriage, they announced their divorce in March 2023.

  4. What is Reese Witherspoon's net worth?

    Reese Witherspoon’s net worth is estimated to be around $300 to $440 million. She is one of the highest-paid actresses in the world, earning $20 to $40 million per year.

    She also makes money from her production company, Hello Sunshine, which was valued at $900 million in 2021 when she sold a majority stake to a Blackstone-backed media company.

    She also has a clothing company, Draper James, and endorsement deals with brands like Crate & Barrel.