Reese Witherspoon Opens Up About the Power of Female Friendships in Hollywood

It would be easy to call Reese Witherspoon‘s current success the peak of her career, but the superstar just continues to wow. Every time she blazes past a milestone, it seems like another one is waiting just around the corner, and her hard work and dedication have given her an undeniable platform of influence and creative control. 

From her early days as a fan favorite in teen dramas and rom-coms, Witherspoon has proven herself both in front of and behind the cameras. These days, she’s dominating the industry as a producer while also maintaining her thriving acting career — and doing it all as a dedicated working mom

When she opened up to Tracee Ellis Ross about her career in an interview, she also had a lot to say about the importance of friendship and how it shapes her outlook. 

Reese Witherspoon has a long and successful acting career

Witherspoon’s impressive filmography dates back to 1991 when she was just a teenager. Early appearances in dramas like The Man in the Moon and A Far Off Place helped solidify her place in heartfelt dramas. By the late 1990s, she was firmly in leading lady territory with substantial roles in well-received films like Pleasantville (1998), Cruel Intentions (1999), and Election (1999). 

It was on the set of Cruel Intentions that Witherspoon fell for co-star Ryan Phillippe — then a leading star in his own right. The pair would marry shortly after filming and welcome a daughter soon after that. Later, they added a son to the mix. In 2006, they went their separate ways, citing their young age at the time they said “I do” as part of the reason the marriage did not last

Witherspoon’s personal life may have been making headlines, but her career was certainly still taking center stage. It’s hard to say just what roles are most defining for a woman with a resume as deep as Witherspoon’s, but Legally Blonde (2001), Walk the Line (2005), and Water for Elephants (2011) are certainly among them. 

More recently, Witherspoon made a huge splash with the success of Big Little Lies, a series in which she not only starred but also produced. That success helped pave the way for her next creative vehicle: Little Fires Everywhere, and Witherspoon once again wowed. 

Reese Witherspoon opened up about the key to her success

Speaking with Ross for Interview Magazine, Witherspoon opened up about what she credits for her success. She shared some insights into herself and her own identity: “I now know what I’m good at, and I know what I’m not good at. My passions have become more intensified as I’ve gotten older.”

She also spent a lot of time explaining the importance of friendships. “I truly believe that like-minded people who get together and push toward a greater good can create real change in this world. I only believe that because of the friendships I’ve made with extraordinary women like you over the past, I’d say, four years,” Witherspoon explained.

Things had not always been so connected for her, though: “Before that, I felt so lonely, and it was really hard for me because a lot of the conversations I was having in rooms in Hollywood, well, I felt like I was the only one having them. When we all started getting together and meeting, I realized that women were having the same conversations across town in a different boardroom or on a different set, and it was enormously comforting to know that I wasn’t pushing a rock up a hill. It’s still a lot of effort, but it felt more effortless with you guys involved. And since then, the support that’s been created by this group of women feels like I have a chorus behind me.”

Supporting women is a focus for Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon smiling in front of a white background
Reese Witherspoon | Matt Petit/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images

Witherspoon opened up about the support others have shown for her and how it helps her grow, and she certainly pays it forward. 

In the past, Witherspoon has been a vocal supporter of other women, making sure to build them up whenever she can. Witherspoon has opened up about choosing roles with the young girls watching her in mind. She wants to be a role model that can stand up to scrutiny. She also works hard to support women-owned businesses and lend her platform to boosting the signal of other female actors. 

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