Reese Witherspoon Was ‘Terrified’ Getting Pregnant at 22: I Had to ‘Compromise’

Stepping up to the plate. Reese Witherspoon welcomed her daughter, Ava Phillippe, when she was 23 and spoke candidly about the experience.

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“I was terrified,” the actress, 44, said during the Tuesday, September 15, episode of The Drew Barrymore Show. “I got pregnant when I was 22 years old, and I didn’t know how to balance work and motherhood. You just do it. … I was just like every other mom and dad trying to figure it out. There’s a lot of compromise. Every bit of that sacrifice is truly worth it.”

Reese Witherspoon Was Terrified Becoming a Mom at 22
Reese Witherspoon The Drew Barrymore Show/YouTube

The Whiskey in a Teacup author that she now wakes up every day for her family, “not movies or [her] job.”

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When the Louisiana native and her then-husband, Ryan Phillippe, welcomed their daughter, 21, in 1999, the Big Little Little Lies alum didn’t have “steady work.”

Witherspoon explained, “I made movies but I hadn’t established myself as someone who could demand that it shoot close to my kids’ school. [I] didn’t have any real power or leverage within my industry.”

She and her Cruel Intentions costar, 46, went on to welcome their son, Deacon, now 16, in 2003 before divorcing five years later. After moving on with Jim Toth, Witherspoon and the talent agent’s son Tennessee, 7, arrived.

In September 2019, the Little Fires Everywhere star opened up about how “scared” she was ahead of parenthood.

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“I didn’t know what it was going to do to my job or my career,” the Oscar winner explained during a Hello Sunshine YouTube video at the time. “Your entire life will change, everything you believe, every piece of food you eat, every piece of independence you have. You can’t go out without thinking of another person.”

Looking back, Witherspoon was “glad” she started her family young, explaining, “I find that having little kids is more physical and it’s just really hard on your body. … I had one at 23, one at 27 and then again at 37. And oh, my God, having a baby at 37 was so much harder. This is just me being real.”

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