We all need the time and space to be alone and know who we are beyond our relationships.
Divorce is not easy no matter how amicable the couple chooses to end things. Reese Witherspoon can testify to that, considering how difficult it was for her, despite the fact that she is still cordial with her ex-husband, Ryan Phillipe.
The Big Little Lies actress met her ex-husband Phillipe for the first time in 1997 at her 21st birthday party. “I met him at my 21st birthday party. I don’t know what came over me— maybe the seven Midori sours—but I told him, ‘I think you’re my birthday present.’ He thought it was so flattering, and now that I think about it … how embarrassing!" she told Jane Magazine. While dating, they were also involved professionally, delivering now-cult classic, Cruel Intentions.
A year after they met and while she was six months pregnant with their first child, the couple tied the knot, believing that the bond would last forever. Soon they brought little Ava into their lives and in 2003, they had their second child, Deacon. But while everything seemed fine to begin with, in 2006, they decided to part ways. They released a joint statement, “We are saddened to announce that Reese and Ryan have decided to formally separate. They remain committed to their family and we ask that you please respect their privacy and the safety of their children at this time," according to People.
While they remained classy choosing to keep things private, it sure must not have been easy for either of them. She told Elle Magazine her divorce was "very humiliating and very isolating...But, by the way, if it's not painful, maybe it wasn't the right decision to marry, to begin with. Those are the appropriate emotions. When people get in your face and say, 'This will pass,' you think, Are they crazy? I'm never gonna feel any better than I feel right this minute and nothing's ever gonna make sense again. And I still have moments where I'm like, Nothings ever gonna make sense again."
And as for dealing with the pain that was borne from the divorce, she told the magazine, "You see a lot of people play this blame game. Blame, blame, blame. You know? And it's a really easy thing to do, and I'm certainly guilty of it. [You have to] look at yourself and go, `What part of this do I need to own? Which part of this is my responsibility? And that's the painful work that you have to go through to hopefully get some real-life knowledge out of it."
Despite the pain, her decision to separate did her a lot of good. It allowed her to find who she was beyond the roles she played. Considering that she got married so early, this period gave her the time to reflect. She recalled how she was "so, so young. I was, like, ridiculously young," when she got married, according to The Daily Mail. On British talk show Lorraine, the mother-of-two opened up and revealed that she doesn't regret her choice but "What do you do when you get to 40 and you made a decision when you were 25 to get married and have kids? I got married when I was 23, and I had two kids by the time I was 27. So I don’t know, you know, sometimes it’s good to know yourself."
And she gives that same advice to her daughter, Ava: “I've said to my daughter, I think, you know, [at] 25, you start to know yourself a little bit better." Phillipe agrees, too, as he told Larry King in 2015, "I think the problem was age. When we got together, we were so young."
But now, the 43-year-old actress is not only doing well for herself professionally, but she also found love again. Having had the time to know who she was, beyond relationships, helped her find her truth and remain rooted in it. She met and fell in love with Jim Toth with whom she shares a son. Here's to a happiness-filled future for them!