Full name: Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon
Height: 5’2” (1.57m)
Date of Birth: March 22nd, 1976
Current Age: 30
Star Sign: Aries
Place of Birth: Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Eye colour: Blue
Education: Harpeth Hall, Nashville, Tennessee
Family: Mother – Betty Witherspoon
Father – John Witherspoon
Brother – John D. Witherspoon (33)
Celebrity Relationships: Ryan Phillippe (Actor)
Celebrity Friends: Renee Zellweger
Filmography: Bunny Lake is missing (2007) playing Annie Lake
Sports Widow (2006)
Penelope (2006) playing Annie
Just Like Heaven (2005) playing Elizabeth Masterson
Walk the Line (2005) playing June Carter
Vanity Fair (2004) playing Becky Sharp
Legally Blonde 2: Red, white & blonde (2003) playing Elle Woods
Sweet Home Alabama (2002) playing Melanie Smooter
The Importance of Being Earnest (2002) playing Cecily
Legally Blonde (2001) playing Elle Woods
The Trumpet of the Swan (2001) playing the voice of Serena
Little Nicky (2000) playing Angel Holly
American Psycho (2000) playing Evelyn Williams
Best Laid Plans (1999) playing Lissa
Election (1999) playing Tracy Flick
Cruel Intentions (1999) playing Annette Hargrove
Pleasantville (1998) playing Jennifer
Overnight Delivery (1998) playing Ivy Miller
Twilight (1998) playing Mel Ames
Fear (1996) playing Nicole Walker
Freeway (1996) playing Vanessa Lutz
S.F.W (1994) playing Wendy Pfister
Jack the Bear (1993) playing Karen Morris
A far Off Place (1993) playing Nonnie Parker
The Man in the Moon (1991) playing Danielle Trant
Her family History: Reese’s father John Witherspoon is a surgeon specialising in the nose, ear and throat. Reese’s mother Betty Reese is a registered nurse and a Ph D in paediatric nursing and a college professor. It is from her mother’s maiden name that Reese gets her name. Reese 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 served as a lieutenant colonel for the US military in Wiesbaden, Germany, she lived there for four years as a small child. Reese’s older brother John works as a real estate broker.
Pets: 1 Bulldog called Frank Sinatra
Interesting facts about Reese:
Reese was a literature major at Stanford University, but left after a year to pursue her acting career
She began her career in local commercials, she even starred in a commercial for a local Nashville Florist when she was 7, her first TV role came in 1991 when she was 14 in ‘Wildflower’ directed by Diane Keaton
Reese has starred in an episode of ‘The Simpson’s’
She was nominated for Golden Globe best Actress award in 2001 for her role in ‘Legally Blonde’
She won Golden Globe award for best Actress, the SFFCC award for best Actress, the Screen Actor's Guild for best actress in a lead role, the British Academy's BAFTA for best actress in a lead role, the "Favourite Leading Lady" at the 32nd Annual People's Choice Awards, and the Academy Award for Best Actress for this role in 2006 for her role in “Walk the line” playing June Carter who died in 2003, before her death June personally approved of Reese to play her
Reese runs her own production company named after her childhood nickname “Little Miss Type A” with Debra Siegal which has already signed a 2 year first-look production pact with Universal, they have already pitched the romantic comedy “Sports Widow” which Reese will produce and star in
Reese first met her husband Ryan Phillippe at her 21st birthday party in 1997 where she said to him “You must be my Birthday present”
Reese and Ryan got engaged in December 1998 while vacationing at The Planter’s Inn, they were married in 1999 on a plantation in Charleston, South Carolina
When Reese and Ryan were in “Cruel Intentions” together in 1998, apparently the scene where they had to scream at each other and break up was so difficult to shoot because they were so in love – in the end the tears were real! Also, Reese slapping Ryan in this scene wasn’t scripted and was just Reese’s unexpected reaction to the awful things Ryan had to shout at her, this completely surprised the directors and Ryan giving him a genuine reaction. After they’d finished the scene, Ryan went behind the set to be sick.
On September 9th, 1999 Reese gave birth to her daughter Ava Elizabeth, she is named after Ryan’s grandmother
On October 23rd, 2003 Reese gave birth to her son Deacon, who is named after former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Charles Louis Deacon Phillippe, one of Ryan’s distant relatives
Reese and Ryan have a pact that one of them will always be a full-time parent to the children, resulting in alternate film schedules
Reese claims to never have hired a full-time nanny for her children
Reese and her family currently live in a gated community in Los Angeles
In 2006 when the family were celebrating Ava’s 6th birthday at Disney’s California Adventure theme park, they were approached by paparazzi photographer Todd Wallace where Reese declined for photos at close range, Todd reportedly was enraged and was pushing children out of the way in his efforts to get photographs of Reese he also allegedly assaulted two of the theme park’s employees who attempted to restrain him while he cursed at Reese, causing several children to burst into tears. He was arrested and faced with misdemeanour charges, however before the case went to trial, Todd was found dead in his apartment in Brentwood
The only time Reese was ever in trouble at school was in 5th grade when she was caught passing “dirty” notes and was punished with 2 weeks detention
Reese was a cheerleader in high school and a debutante
At the age of 11 she was placed in a Ten-state talent fair which she went on to win
When Reese was 7 she began modelling
The school Reese attended – Harpeth Hall, was an all girls school
Shortly after Reese began her acting career she had an audition for a role in “Cape Fear” where she was supposed to meet with Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese, but at the time she didn’t really know who they were. On the plane she was talking to a man next to her about her audition and the man started to rave about De Niro and Scorsese which made her so nervous she completely blew the audition and the role went to Juliette Lewis
She refused the lead roles in two horror movies – “Scream” and “Urban legend”
Reese was considered for the role of Juliet in “Romeo & Juliet”
She was named one of People Magazine’s “25 Most intriguing People of 2001”
She was named on of E!’s “top 20 entertainers of 2001”
Reese was named one of 50 most beautiful people by People magazine in 2002
She appears in Entertainment Weekly’s most powerful listing at #22
Reese has been named one of Rolling Stone’s “People of the year” along with Eminem and Kelly Osbourne
A ‘GAP’ ad that Reese starred in appeared on a 6-story-high building on Sunset Blvd
Steve Dontanville from the William Morris Agency is still her agent and has been since she starred in “Man on the Moon” back in 1991
Reese can trace her family all the way back to Scotland in the UK
Reese’s wedding ring is an early 1990’s Neil Lane, Asscher-cut diamond – there are only a few like it in the world
She was ranked #1 on E!’s Hollywood’s Hottest Blondes in 2003
As a credit for a high school class, she worked as an office assistant for the film “Devil in a Blue dress” in 1995. The director Carl Franklin paid homage to Reese by featuring her film “Legally Blonde” in the film “Out of time” in 2003
Reese collects antique linens and loves old embroidery
Reese used to model Kids’ track suits in the Sunday paper where she was paid $50 a day, she said it was creative for her when she was a child
She started acting classes at a Community college when she was 7 and by the age of 9 she was taking Adult acting classes
Reese was a gymnast for 7 years
She was named ‘Favourite Female Film Star’ by People Magazine in 2004
Reese is a member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority
Reese’s husband Ryan also doesn’t use his first name – just like Reese doesn’t, Ryan’s first name is actually Matthew
Reese was the first person to host ‘Saturday night live’ after the September 11th terror attacks
She auditioned for a role in “Mallrats”
Since providing her own singing voice for her role in “Walk the line”, she has been approached by a few record companies
Reese has starred in four movies bearing the names of songs; “Jack the bear”, “Sweet home Alabama”, “Just like Heaven” and “Walk the line”.
Reese is precisely 2 weeks older than Candace Cameron Bure
Reese donated many items to Rocky Stone to be given to less fortunate kids as part of the Toy Mountain Campaign
The year Reese won her Oscar for “Walk the line”, her husband Ryan appeared in the movie “Crash” that won Best picture
Reese’s performance as Tracy Flick in “Election” in 1999 is ranked at #45 on Premiere Magazine’s Greatest performances of All time
In “Cruel Intentions”, while filming a scene where Reese and Ryan are in a car together, the director said cut but the cameras were kept rolling, while waiting for filming to resume Reese started pulling silly faces at Ryan causing him to say “Stop it, it’s distracting!” and Reese to reply “ Are you laughing? It’s ok I won’t tell anyone.” When the director watched the scenes footage back and saw the chemistry between the pair and realised it fitted with the story line he included it in the film.
It was reported that Reese was pregnant while filming “Cruel Intentions” but this is incorrect, the film was shot between June and July in 1998 and Reese had her daughter Ava in September 1999 so this was more than a full year since filming. However, she was pregnant while they did the press tours for the film
Reese dyed hair her brown for her role in “Walk the line”
She was ranked #34 in FHM’S “Sexiest women of the world” in 2005
Reese used to be a vegetarian
Not long after the birth of Reese and Ryan’s son Deacon in 2003, the pair were rumoured to be in marriage counselling. Despite rumours though, the pair are still together 3 years on
The family dog was named Frank Sinatra after Ryan’s admiration of his music and character in History
Reese earned $15 million for her role in “Vanity Fair”, $12.5 million for “Sweet Home Alabama, $5 million for “Legally Blonde”, $15 million for “Legally Blonde 2”, $200 thousand for “Fear” and $250 thousand for “Cruel Intentions” making her one of Hollywood’s best paid Actresses
Reese claimed that she felt haunted by the ghost of June Carter while filming “Walk the line”
Reese’s Personal Quotes:
[On having a baby]: "Obviously, this isn't the time in my life that I would have chosen to do this, but I feel like life gives you these challenges for a reason. I feel so happy and glad to be in the place that I am. I really feel blessed. This is something I need to face and take control of."
[Talking about how she chose the films she will be in]: "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."
[Talking about Ryan Phillippe]: "I'm lucky to find a person to share my life, and the best friend I'll ever have."
[Talking about motherhood and her baby]: "I feel good, I'm proud of Election (1999) and very proud of this [her child]. It couldn't be a better time. It's always the right time when it happens. You make it the right time".
[Talking about Pleasantville (1998)]: "We were thrilled for just the three nominations we got, but obviously it's a little sad. I went through so many press junkets with people saying they loved it. And Joan Allen was robbed but she can't get nominated every year. She's an inspiration for every young actress. She has that calm and reserve about herself and makes you think she appreciates the normal things of everyday. Then she transforms into this character that's so different."
[Talking about the movie business]: "The battles that we face in this business aren't financial, but they are moral. And I certainly think that the longer you can keep your values, and your morality intact, and keep your head on your shoulders about what is important at the end of the day, you can get the most out of this business and really emerge with something wonderful."
"I grew up in Tennessee. We didn't know what Louis Vuitton was. I had to order all my prom outfits out of catalogues".
"People want to try and move you into a place where you can be easily identifiable by every woman in America - to be this very likeable woman in a romantic comedy. And it's really hard for me. I just don't see myself as the girl that everybody likes. I never have been and I don't know how to be that person."
"As far as being in the spotlight and under public scrutiny, a lot of that's about how much you put yourself out there. It's not like we go to every premiere and every celebrity function and every charity auction. We really just try to maintain our privacy and never let our public persona get out of hand."
"I'm not perfect! I'm human. I make mistakes. But I try to be as conscious as I can about things I should be. If I'm going to do something commercial and mainstream and made for the masses, I just believe you can make those kinds of films with quality - and good ideas and good intentions. There's a lot of negativity out there."
"While making Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003), I had like 50 outfit changes. It was great! I'm real into the whole "girlie" thing, it was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it".
"Attending an all-girls school has its advantages, there are no inhibitions. You can walk to school with your zit cream on and your hair in rollers and nobody cares."
It's nice to come home to what's real." - E! "Revealed with Jules Asner"(2001).
[On husband Ryan Phillippe] "I don't think I can imagine a better guy than the one I've ended up with".
"There's something timeless and important about making people laugh, about being the right spot in their day." - as quoted in the Dec 7, 2004 issue of Woman's World
I was thinking about why I make movies, and I know why. Life is hard. It's nice to go escape and have a good time at the movies. If I can give people a movie about hope, love and the future, then I've done my job.
I do think things were meant to happen. I'm just this little girl from Tennessee, and here I am today. I think a lot of things are just out of your hands.
[Asked about the ways she is discriminated against] "I get discriminated against in three ways: I get discriminated against because I'm blond, I get discriminated against because I'm an actress and I get discriminated against because I'm from the South."
I did. I called my attorney, my agent, my manager, I said "You know y'all, you're serious about this? I'm really. I gotta get out of this. Like can't they call 'Leann Rimes’? I mean she's good." - On trying to get out of the part of June Carter Cash in Walk the Line (2005).
The director came to us and he said "No, I really want you guys to learn to sing. To learn to play instruments and I want you to record an album", and that is what... and I just absolutely was just gob-smacked and I said. "I don't know. I can't do that." And he said "Well I want you to try." Now that's the thing for me. If someone asks me to try, I will always try. - On doing her own singing in Walk the Line (2005).
"Life isn't just about you: It's about family and friends and giving back." quoted in Woman's World magazine 2-21-06
About dual careers and marriage: "Marriage and family come before everything. You don't want to make a movie at the cost of your relationship."
"I feel like there's a race being run for some unattainable goal - to be the best, the skinniest, the most beautiful. I just admit that's what I'll never be."
"What gets me is how many women - young women - give up their power and sense of self. Thinking they're going to get more out of life if they take off their clothes and objectify themselves, instead of functioning on the principle that they're smart and capable, that you can be an actress and not be on the covers of T&A magazines. I'm flabbergasted by how many legitimate actresses do that. It blows my mind."
(Part of Oscar Speech) I am so blessed to have my family here tonight. My mother and my father are here. And I just want to say thank you so much for everything, for being so proud of me. It didn't matter if I was making my bed or making a movie. They never hesitated to say how proud they were of me. And that means so very much to a child. So thank you, Mom and Dad. I want to say thank you to my wonderful husband and my two children who should be going to bed. And thank you for loving me so much and supporting me. And I want to say that, my grandmother was one of the biggest inspirations in my life. She taught me how to be a real woman to have strength and self respect, and to never give those things away. And those are a lot of qualities I saw in June Carter. People used to ask June how she was doing, and she used to say -- 'I'm just trying to matter.' And I know what she means. You know, I'm just trying to matter, and live a good life and make work that means something to somebody. And you have all made me feel that I might have accomplished that tonight. So thank you so much for this honor."
I think everyone has their own set of problems, and sometimes I feel I'm in the middle of the biggest challenge of my life just trying to maintain normalcy in a kind of crazy lifestyle.
I'm pretty conservative or old-fashion, I should say, it's how I grew up. I think you have to let your children be individuals, but you have to set boundaries. Ryan and I have similar ideas about all of it, you really have to support you partner in the things that are important to them and hold the line together.
Cool Reese Merchandise:
Reese Witherspoon Paperback book
Find all this and lots of other cool Reese stuff on sites like www.amazon.com