'It feels much more authentic.' Reese Witherspoon on how her second divorce differs from her first.

When Reese Witherspoon and her first husband Ryan Phillippe divorced, she had to hand over control of the narrative.

It was 2007 and tabloid culture was king. There was no Instagram or Twitter to share your thoughts and feelings in your own words and on your own terms.

Instead, Witherspoon watched on as tabloids speculated on every little detail — from cheating rumours to fame pressures to custody details — with no real pushback.

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Now, four months from Witherspoon and her second husband Jim Toth's joint statement announcing their separation, she has spoken about how different it feels this time around.

"When I was divorced before, the tabloid media got to tell people how I was feeling or how I was processing, and it felt very out of control," she told Harper's Bazaar in a new profile interview.

"To be able to talk to people directly about what's going on in my life and just share it in the way that I share great professional experiences or personal experiences, it feels much more authentic to be able to say things in my own voice and not let somebody else control what's happening."

Reese Witherspoon with Jim Toth, Ava, Deacon and Tennessee. Image: Instagram @reesewitherspoon.


That hasn't stopped speculation, of course, but Witherspoon knows she can't "control that".

"All I can do is be my most honest, forthright self and be vulnerable. It's a vulnerable time for me."

It feels good to put it all out there on her own terms, she said.

"I think about how many other people are going through this experience. I don't feel isolated at all. I feel very connected."

Witherspoon and Toth married at her Californian ranch in 2011 and separated earlier this year after 12 years of marriage.


In their joint statement, the pair said it was a "difficult" decision to make.

"We have some personal news to share," their post began.

"It is with a great deal of care and consideration that we have made the difficult decision to divorce. We have enjoyed so many wonderful years together and are moving forward with deep love, kindness and mutual respect for everything we have created together. 

"Our biggest priority is our son and our entire family as we navigate this next chapter."

They share 10-year-old son Tennessee, and Witherspoon is also the mother of daughter Ava, 23, and son Deacon, 19, who she shares with Phillippe.

Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe. Image: Getty.


Witherspoon met Toth, a successful Hollywood agent, in early 2010 at a party after someone drunkenly hit on her. 

"It happened out of the blue," the Big Little Lies actor told Elle in 2013.

"This really drunk guy was hitting on me, making such an idiot of himself, yelling at me. He was like, [slurring, scowling, pointing finger in her face] 'You don't know me.' And I was like, 'Yeah, I know. I don't know you!'"

It was Toth who saved the day by stepping in. 

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"Jim came over and said, 'Please excuse my friend. He's just broken up with someone'," she recalled. 

"Jim was a really good friend, pulling him out of that situation. That's just kind of who he is, a really good person."

In the wake of the divorce news, Witherspoon has been kept busy with her production company Hello Sunshine, but she told Harper's Bazaar she has slowed down "just a little bit" following her divorce.

"My brain has been going nonstop, and just life changes and running a company... But that's okay. I really believe creativity is infinite and you're just looking for that next bit of inspiration, so if you go through a little slow period, that's okay."

Feature image: Getty/Mamamia.

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