Celebrity Updates

Reese Witherspoon Reveals She Lacked ‘Support’ After Welcoming Daughter Ava

Parenting struggles. Reese Witherspoon opened up about the realities of new motherhood after her daughter Ava Phillippe was born in September 1999.

“I did not have a lot of support with my first baby and I learned really early, like, this is not going to work,” the Home Again star, 45, explained on the “We Are Supported By” podcast on Friday, August 27. “I tried to muscle through for five months with Ava, just not sleeping and I became delirious.”

During the conversation with cohosts Kristen Bell and Monica Padman, the Legally Blonde actress explained that she “couldn’t have worked” while Ava, now 21, was only a few months old.


Ava Phillippe and Reese Witherspoon.
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

“I was lucky enough to have money saved and I didn’t have to work, but it’s just not a one-person job,” Witherspoon noted. “I would even say it’s not a two-person job.”

Witherspoon shares Ava — and 17-year-old son Deacon — with ex-husband Ryan Phillippe. The two actors wed in June 1999, three months before Ava was born. The pair later split in 2006.

The Big Little Lies alum, who met the 46-year-old I Know What You Did Last Summer actor in 1997, previously opened up about their marriage during an interview with ITV’s Lorraine in 2017. She noted at the time that she “would never change anything” about her life, but that getting married at a young age was difficult.

“I got married when I was 23 and I had two kids by the time I was 27,” the Sweet Home Alabama star said at the time. “I don’t know, sometimes it’s good to know yourself [first].”

Though a romantic relationship didn’t pan out for the pair, they’ve managed an amicable coparenting relationship.

“It’s a feeling-out process,” Phillippe told HuffPost Live in 2014. “I think we’ve gotten to a really great place. It’s going well, and she’s happy and remarried, and our kids are incredible. I’m proud of the way we’ve handled it and who our little people are.”

The pair even reunited in October 2020 to celebrate Deacon’s 17th birthday together. The 54 actor shared a video clip of an intimate party via Instagram Story at the time.

In the footage, Witherspoon delivered their son a cake as the rest of the attendees sang “Happy Birthday” to the teenager, as Phillippe captured the moment for social media.

After the couple’s split, Witherspoon married Jim Toth in 2011 before giving birth to their son, Tennessee, one year later. For his part, Phillippe dated Abbie Cornish from 2007 to 2010. Later, he dated Alexis Knapp for several months before their split. He shares daughter Kai with the Pitch Perfect actress, 32.

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