Reese Witherspoon Cried in Daughter Ava’s Room After She Left for College: ‘It’s Hard’


A tough transition! Reese Witherspoon struggled when her 19-year-old daughter, Ava, left home for college.

“My daughter’s finishing her first year of college,” the actress, 43, said on the Ellen DeGeneres Show on Monday, May 20. “It’s weird when your children go away to college. It’s hard. I never imagined how it felt for my mom. I might have gone into her empty room, laid down on her bed and cried when she went to college.”

Reese Witherspoon The Ellen DeGeneres Show Daughter Ava Phillippe Crying College
Reese Witherspoon visits ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show.’ Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

The Big Little Lies star added: “It’s OK, she’s coming back. I thought she would be gone.”

The Whiskey in a Teacup author went on to apologize to her mom, Betty Reese, since she didn’t do the same. “I never came back,” she told Ellen DeGeneres. “I went to college for one year and then I started making movies and I moved to L.A. and I never came back. Sorry, mom. My poor mom.”

Reese Witherspoon Daughter Ava Phillippe Crying College
Ava Phillippe and Reese Witherspoon attend the LA Dance Project Gala at Hauser & Wirth on October 20, 2018 in Los Angeles. Vivien Killilea/Getty Images

Witherspoon admitted that she made it up to her mother. “My mom was so mad at me that I dropped out of college because she wanted me to be a doctor, specifically a plastic surgeon,” the Legally Blonde star told DeGeneres, 61. “My dad was an ear, nose and throat surgeon, but my mom was really determined for me to be a plastic surgeon. She was mad about it for probably ten years, but then I bought her a house and she got over it. At a certain point, it turned into a better deal.”

The Louisiana native shares Ava and son Deacon, 15, with her ex-husband, Ryan Phillippe. She and husband Jim Toth welcomed son Tennessee, now 6, in 2012.

In June 2018, a source told Us Weekly exclusively that while Witherspoon is “equally involved” in all of her kids’ lives, she and her daughter are “best friends” and “just love being together.”

The insider went on to say, “Reese and Ava talk several times a day and they go to each other for everything. [Ava] has learned so much by being with her mom and traveling the world with her.”

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