Just a little girl from Louisiana, Reese Witherspoon had dreamt and hoped for something to come up her way and when she reached her late twenties, suddenly everything was going so fast, she was by then already a well known figure worldwide. Originally named Laura Jean, Reese was born March 22, 1976 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana but she lived in Wiesbaden, Germany for four years after her father John Witherspoon was sent to serve military there, not as a soldier but as a nose, ear and throat specialist. Her mother, Betty had also worked in medical field as PhD in pediatric nursing and later on taught her expertise at Vanderbilt University, Tennessee. Obviously having very academic parents, acting was not a choice, but out of nothing little Reese grew an interest in it. Sparked by the offer to be the model of an ad for the first time, she was appealed to the profession and started to grow fond of acting. By 13 years old, she had plumped herself with acting lessons and thus appeared for many ads such as Ames discount stores and also Opryland theme park.
Accompanying a friend to do an audition for a movie, she decided to give it a try also. Upon given some lines, the 15 years old girl impressed the casting directors and was immediately enrolled for screening test in L.A. From expecting a small role, she had surprisingly been put as the main character of "The Man in the Moon" (1991) where she became a young girl dealing with first love syndromes. And the fact that she was still pursuing study in Harpeth Hall High School, Nashville didn't stop her from taking many more jobs in the following years including TV movies "Wildflower" (1991) and "Desperate Choices: To Save My Child" (1992) as well as wide screens "A Far Off Place" (1993) and "Jack the Bear" (1993). For the latter, she won the category of Best Youth Actress Co-Starring in a Motion Picture Drama at the 1994 Young Artist Awards and so the stories had just begun.
As she enrolled in Stanford University in 1994, there were no more movies in the next two years before she came back playing opposite Kiefer Sutherland in "Freeway," an interesting twisted story of the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood. But then feeling that film was taking a larger portion in her life, she quitted from the English literature study in the university to star in "Twilight" (1998). Stunning as the newly emerged female star, Reese began to gather a mass of fans, one of them was actor Ryan Phillippe whom she met in her 21st birthday party. The two youngsters found chemistry and began to see each other more frequently for the next few years until Reese was pregnant with a child and they got married on June 5, 1999. The child was born three months later on September 9 and named Ava Elizabeth Phillippe. Before the nurturing family episode, Reese was involved in the strange but smart film "Pleasantville" (1998) which eventually won her a Young Hollywood Award for Breakthrough Performance - Female in 1999. Then, after portraying a strict virgin in "Cruel Intentions" (1999) she became a highly ambitious student council candidate in "Election" (1999) and her performance here would always be reminded as her brilliant character traits. When at first the character she played, Tracy Flick was so annoying, audience would gradually take pity on her as she was corrupted by her vindictive teacher. So splendid that through this movie she was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical at the 2000 Golden Globe Awards.
Her next notable flicks include the crime thriller "Best Laid Plans" (1999), another thriller "American Psycho" (2000) and a fantasy comedy "Little Nicky" (2000), all of which proved that she was capable to play in any movie genre. Once in 2000 she was featured as Rachel Green's sister in the all-time-favorite sitcom "Friends" (1994) and she also provided the guest voice in animation series "King of the Hill" (1997) in the same year. Both appearances brought a swing of fresh air to the series but they were nothing compared to her very own movie "Legally Blonde" (2001) as Elle Woods, a blond who took law in Harvard because she was hurt being said a dumb by her ex boyfriend. The flick, taken from Amanda Brown's novel, broke the worldwide gross over $141 million and Reese's name immediately rocketed to a higher position, overstepping other young female actresses of around her age such as Sarah Michelle Gellar, Selma Blair and Brittany Murphy. After that she showed credibility as an actress by employing British accent in "The Importance of Being Earnest" (2002) before making another high profited movie "Sweet Home Alabama" (2002). A favorite genre at that time, the drama comedy pictured a woman who was entangling in New York's high lifestyle and intended to leave her rural background including her husband in Alabama.
Then, following the success of the previous movie, she produced and starred in "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde" (2003) by gladly continuing Elle's experience in tackling the dumb blonde notion using her skills in law to fight an animal testing company. Commenting on the blonde issue she said, "Being a Southern person and a blonde, it's not a good combination. Immediately, when people meet you, they think of you as not being smart." Paid by the movie for $15 million, she was by that time included as one of the highly paid actresses in Hollywood. Later in 2003 she came full circle by delivering her second child, a boy named Deacon Phillippe on October 23. Everything seemed to be complete as she possessed a loving husband, beautiful kids and excellent career so what more could she ask. But one thing that remained true was the commitment towards her work. Shaping back her body she involved herself in a classic movie titled "Vanity Fair" (2004) before then attached to portray June Carter, the wife of Johnny Cash in biopic "Walk the Line" (2005). Huge like its cast, the movie became a regular nominator and winner in award events including the prestigious Oscar and Golden Globes. Reese herself had become an important asset to the movie, proven by winning both Golden Globe and SAG Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy and Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role respectively in 2006.
Gleaming with awards, Reese refused to easily get satisfied and thus landed as many as four more movies during 2005 to 2007. She began her post colossal movie by taking a step backward in a romantic comedy titled "Just Like Heaven" (2005) as a beautiful spirit who fell in love with a lonely landscape architect played by Mark Ruffalo. Next came the fantasy "Penelope" (2007) which put her as the producer and also Annie while the young actress Christina Ricci became the titular character, followed by other roles in "Our Family Troubles" and "Rendition," both slated for the same year's release. All in all, judging from her already becoming a sought after Hollywood actress, movie offers kept coming approaching her, naming those of "Bell Witch", "Sports Widow", and "Sammy", all coming in theaters by 2008. Seemingly tight in schedule, the wise actress never forgot to have a balanced life with her family saying, "Many people worry so much about managing their careers, but rarely spend half that much energy managing their LIVES. I want to make my life, not just my job, the best it can be. The rest will work itself out."
Apart from her acting career that keeps rocketing and brings her even more cash, Reese's marriage worked the other way around. The actress and hubby Ryan had to unfortunately face a low point in their relationship, causing them to at last announced separation. "We are saddened to announce that Reese and Ryan have decided to formally separate. They remain committed to their family and we ask that you please respect their privacy and the safety of their children at this time," said a statement released by their representative on October 30, 2006. With Reese officially filed for divorce on November 8th, citing "irreconcilable differences" while seeking physical custody of their two children, Deacon Phillippe and Ava Elizabeth Phillippe, the former couple had their union finally terminated on October 5, 2007.
Amid the gloomy side of life, Reese found comfort in other man, Jake Gyllenhaal. Working together on the movie "Rendition," they were close on set and off set as well, leading them to at the end embark on a romance.