Motherhood made Reese Witherspoon a better woman. The 37-year-old actress is one of four female stars -- including Penelope Cruz, Melissa McCarthy and Shailene Woodley -- gracing ELLE's Women in Hollywood November issue. Witherspoon, looking sexy in a cut-out little black dress on the cover, opens up to the magazine about how her children have changed her life.
"Somebody was saying to me the other day, 'Oh, people get less interesting when they have kids.' I just don't think that's true," the Oscar winner says. "I feel like I was so confused before I had kids, I almost got in my own way."
Witherspoon is mom to daughter Ava, 14, and son Deacon, 9, with ex-husband Ryan Phillippe, and son Tennessee, 12 months, with second husband Jim Toth.
"Having kids made me clearer about who I was as a woman. I just wanted to exhibit good qualities for my daughter. I was a little competitive before I had kids -- probably really competitive, to be honest," the Election star admits. "It really made me let go of that."
But Witherspoon is still competitive when it comes to her career and her evolution in Hollywood. She founded a production company, Type A Films, in 2000, which then merged with Bruna Papandrea's Make Movies to create a new company, Pacific Standard, in 2012.
What inspired her to start producing movies?
"I started noticing a couple years ago that I wasn't seeing women as the stars of movies," she recalls. "I'm seeing them as the guys' girlfriends, or so-and-so's wife. I just thought: God, if I don't start buckling down and start producing some movies, what's my daughter going to see in the movies?"
For more of Witherspoon's interview, pick up the November issue of ELLE on newsstands Oct. 22.