Reese Witherspoon Blames Ryan Phillippe Divorce Trauma For Career Blunders, Slump

Reese Witherspoon
Reese Witherspoon spoke about her split from Ryan Phillippe. 

The last several years have been a bit of a roller coaster for Reese Witherspoon. The Mud star, 38, opened up about her transformation from Hollywood’s Oscar-winning darling to slumping star and back again — with daring roles in front of and behind the cameras — in a new interview with Charlie Rose, which aired on 60 Minutes on Sunday, Dec. 21. 

Witherspoon reflected on how far she’s come, looking back on the year that she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for 2005’s Walk the Line. In the subsequent months, her personal life quickly unraveled as she split from her husband of eight years, Ryan Phillippe

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“Phew, that was a tough year that followed,” she told Rose. “I got divorced the next year and I spent a few years just trying to feel better.” The two actors — who share daughter Ava, now 15, and son Deacon, now 11 — split amidst rumors that Phillippe cheated with Australian star Abbie Cornish

“You know, you can’t really be very creative when you feel like your brain is scrambled eggs,” continued Witherspoon, whose divorce from Phillippe was finalized in October 2007. “I was just kind of floundering career-wise cause I wasn’t making things I was passionate about, I was just kinda working. It was really clear the audiences weren’t responding to anything I was putting out there.”

Ryan Phillippe and Reese Witherspoon

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After her celebrated turn in Walk the Line as June Carter Cash opposite Joaquin Phoenix, the Louisiana-born star went on to headline critically and financially lukewarm romantic comedies such as How Do You Know and This Means War. Her “floundering” career choices were met with harsh reactions, including a 2012 New Yorker piece that named her amongst actors who were no longer box office gold. 

“I thought I was reading a profile on another actor, and somewhere at the end it said, you know, the people who are washed up, and at the end it included me, Tom Hanks, Mel Gibson,” she explained to Rose. “It really hurt my feelings, really hurt my feelings.”

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Though Witherspoon found herself in a fall from grace just two years ago, her “scrambled eggs” brain has since repaired itself and she has worked her way back into exciting new roles. Find out why critics are raving about Reese’s new role in Wild.

Witherspoon’s personal life got back on track as she rebounded with Jake Gyllenhaal in the late 2000s, and found love again in talent agent Jim Toth, whom she met in February 2010. They married in March 2011 and welcomed their first child together, son Tennessee James, in September 2012. Since finding her happiness again, the Wild star has already earned Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations for the 2015 award season. After stepping behind the camera to produce the box office smash Gone Girl, she continues her positive turn next month when she hits theaters in the well-received Paul Thomas Anderson film Inherent Vice.

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