reese witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon Says Leaving an Abusive Relationship Made Her a ‘Completely Different Person’

Reese Witherspoon. Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

During last weekend’s SuperSoul Sunday programming block, Oprah interviewed Reese Witherspoon, and the two Wrinkle in Time co-stars talked about the challenges of overcoming abusive relationships. During the conversation, Witherspoon talked about her own experience of trying to extricate herself from an emotionally abusive partner While the actress said leaving was the “most difficult decision” she had ever made, it proved to be a formatively empowering act. “I could never be the person I am today,” she told Oprah. “It changed who I was on a cellular level, the fact that I stood up for myself. None of those leaving those situations … it’s wrought with self-doubt, particularly if someone damages your self-esteem.”

In October of last year, Witherspoon took the stage at Elle’s Women in Hollywood event shortly after the first massive exposes about Harvey Weinstein’s history of alleged serial sexual predation were published, and shared her own story of being sexually harassed and assaulted by a director when she was just 16 years old (among other experiences of abuse she declined to elaborate on). During her recent talk with Oprah, the actress and producer said her experience with domestic abuse was what motivated her to develop Big Little Lies, and her resolve as a survivor is a large part of what has propelled her toward such professional success. “People say to me that knew me then, ‘You’re a completely different person,’” said Witherspoon. “I didn’t have self-esteem. I’m a different person now and it’s part of why I can stand up and say, ‘yes, I’m ambitious’ — because someone tried to take that from me before.”

Reese Witherspoon Tells Oprah About Abusive Relationship