Reese Witherspoon took the entertainment industry by storm when she was just 14 years old and she’s been charming her way through movies ever since.
Witherspoon, who was born in Tennessee, has been nothing short of busy over the past few years, notching Academy Award nominations, raising a family and even starting her own design company. Now, she’ll add TV star to her impressive resume.
The Oscar-winner is slated to serve as the celebrity-guest announcer on the premiere of Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris on Tuesday night. The live variety show premieres on NBC on September 15 and is slated to bring in a handful of guest stars and big-time names. Here’s what you need to know about Witherspoon and how she ended up in primteimte:
1. Witherspoon Grew Up in Nashville, Tennessee
The Academy Award-winning actress was born in New Orleans, Louisiana to John Witherspoon and Betty Reese. Her father served as a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army Reserve and also ran his own private practice as an otolaryngologist until 2012. Witherspoon’s mother worked as a professor of nursing at Vanderbilt University with a focus on neonatal intensive care until she retired.
Although she spent four years living in Germany, Witherspoon considers Nashville her home and graduated from Harpeth Hall School. A self-proclaimed Southerner, Witherspoon said that growing up in Tennessee gave her “a sense of family and tradition.”
After graduating from high school Witherspoon enrolled in Stanford University as an English literature major. She left school after one year to pursue a career in acting.
2. Her First Film Role Came in ‘The Man In the Moon’ & She Won an Oscar in 2005
Witherspoon was just 14 years old when she made her film debut in The Main In the Moon. She had intended to audition for a background role but was instead cast as the lead role of Dani Trant, a 14-year-old country girl who falls in love with her 17-year-old neighbor.
From there on out, there was no stopping Witherspoon. She appeared in a handful of films over the next few years before notching her breakout role as Elle Woods in the hit film Legally Blonde. Witherspoon described the role and accepting the opportunity, saying:
When I read Legally Blonde, I was like, ‘She’s from Beverly Hills, she’s rich, she’s in a sorority. She has a great boyfriend. Oh yeah, she gets dumped. Who cares? I still hate her.’ So we had to make sure she was the kind of person you just can’t hate.
In 2005, Witherspoon cemented herself as Hollywood royalty when she won her first Academy Award for her portrayal of June Carter Cash in Walk the Line. She sang her own songs in the film and was the critical darling of the award season that year. In addition to her Oscar, Witherspoon also won the Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and BAFTA for her performance.
Witherspoon was nominated for her second Academy Award last year for her role in Wild.
3. Witherspoon Has Been Married to Jim Toth Since 2011
After her first marriage with Ryan Phillippe and a relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal ended, Witherspoon began dating Jim Toth, a talent agent and co-head of motion picture talent at the Creative Artists Agency. Witherspoon is a client at the Agency, although Toth does not represent her.
The pair announced they were engaged in December 2010 just weeks after joking telling Entertainment Weekly:
My mom always texts me, like, ‘Are you getting married? I’m like, ‘Mom, come on! You would know if I was getting married.
Witherpoon and Toth tied the knot on March 26, 2011 in Ojai California at Libbey Ranch. According to Us Weekly, Witherspoon wore a custom-designed Monique Lhuillier gown while famous faces like Renee Zellweger, Alyssa Milano and Tobey Maguire were reportedly in attendance.
4. She Has Three Children – Including Two With Ex-Husband Ryan Phillippe
Witherspoon is a major hands on mom to her three kids, Ava, Deacon and Tennessee James.
Ava and Deacon were both born while Witherspoon was still married to Ryan Phillipee. The two divorced after seven years of marriage on October 5, 2007. Witherspoon and her 16-year-old daughter have frequently been compared with Ava often being referred to as her mother’s “mini-me.”
Tennessee James Toth was born on September 27, 2012. Her rep confirmed the news, saying “Reese Witherspoon and husband Jim Toth welcomed Tennessee James into their family today. Both mom and baby are healthy and the entire family is thrilled.”
5. Witherspoon Is Active in Children’s & Women’s Advocacy Organizations
When she isn’t filming movies or focusing on raising a family, Witherspoon is incredibly active in a handful of charity and philanthropic endeavors.
She is a longtime supporter of Save the Children, a group that provides children around the world with education, health care and emergency aid, and also serves on the board of the Children’s Defense Fund.
In 2006, Witherspoon joined several other actresses who traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana to publicize the needs of Hurricane Katrina victims. The next year she was named the first-ever Global Ambassador of Avon cosmetics and currently serves as an honorary chair of the Avon Foundation, a charity that helps support women and focuses on breast cancer research and preventing domestic violence. Witherspoon explained her involvement with Avon, saying:
As a woman and a mother I care deeply about the well being of other women and children throughout the world and through the years, I have always looked for opportunities to make a difference.