Name: Reese Witherspoon
Born: 22 March 1976 (Age: 34)
Where: New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Height: 5' 2"
Awards: Won 1 Oscar, 1 BAFTA and 1 Golden Globe
Of all the new millennium's young female movie stars, only one has proved herself capable of single-handedly headlining a series of major box-office hits. Not Julia Stiles, not Kirsten Dunst, not Sarah Michelle Gellar. They are successful, but still mostly team-players. Only Reese Witherspoon has gone beyond that. Breaking through with Legally Blonde and making a $100 million hit of Sweet Home Alabama, then winning a Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of June Carter Cash in Walk The Line, she separated herself entirely from the new Brat Pack and supplanted Julia Roberts as the most popular female star in Hollywood. And this was wholly deliberate as Witherspoon could well rival Madonna in terms of blonde ambition.
This was a predictable move for the Witherspoons, being deeply rooted in the South. Their earliest American ancestor, another John, had crossed the pond from Scotland, becoming President of the prestigious Princeton University. Such was his standing that he was asked to sign the original Declaration of Independence. Eventually the family would migrate to the southern states, where they'd be a paragon of the region's genteel aristocracy.
Many decades later, John, who'd graduate top of his class at Yale, would meet Betty while the pair were studying at the University of Tennessee. They'd marry, but their studies would continue, John becoming a surgeon specialising in the ear, nose and throat, while Betty, who'd earn five separate degrees, would become a Ph.D in pediatric nursing, winding up as a professor of nursing at Vanderbilt University.
Hailing from such stock, Laura Jean was bound to either hit the heights or crash and burn. Sensible from the start, she chose the former. At school, as a self-confessed "huge book dork", she achieved excellent grades, and would be taken on at the famous Harpeth Hall School For Girls in Nashville (former alumni including the Grand Ole Oprey's Minnie Pearl and pop singer Amy Grant). She'd be both a cheerleader and a debutante, though in later years she'd complain whenever this was mentioned, clearly believing that it undermined her reputation for intelligence and professionalism (her part in Legally Blonde would be close to her heart).
The couple announced their separation in October 2006 and divorced in October 2007. Phillippe said that he was so distraught by the break-up he wanted to die. "After the divorce, I was a physical wreck. I wanted to die," Phillippe told the British magazine Man About Town in November 2007. "I was ready to kill myself. I was not taking care of myself at all. I would wake up and cry and vomit."
While experiencing difficulties in her personal life, Witherspoon has thrived professionally. According to the Hollywood Reporter's 2007 list, she is one of Hollywood's highest-paid actresses. Even though her film Rendition was a flop, Winterspoon commands $15-$20 million a movie. It was on the set of Rendition that she met Jake Gyllenhaal. The two later started dating and have become one of the Hollywood couples that attracts a lot of media attention.
In 2008, Witherspoon co-starred in the fantastical comedy Penelope with Christina Ricci. She also served as a producer on the project. Later this same year, Witherspoon starred with Vince Vaughn in the family holiday comedy Four Christmases.
Reese Witherspoon was born on March 22, 1976 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Reese was the second child born to Dr. John and Betty Witherspoon. Her father was a military surgeon specializing in the ear, nose and throat. Her mother was a Registered Nurse who would later become a Ph.D in pediatric nursing. Reese Witherspoon spent the first four years of her life in Wiesbaden, Germany where her father served as a lieutenant colonel in the US Army reserves. Shortly after, John moved the family back to the States, settling in Nashville, Tennessee.
Reese Witherspoon was introduced to the entertainment industry at a very early age. At age 7, Reese began modeling. This led to appearances on several local television commercials. At age 11, she placed first in a Ten-State Talent Fair.
In 1990, Reese Witherspoon landed her first major acting role in Robert Mulligan's The Man in the Moon (1991). Her role as a 14-year old tomboy earned her rave reviews. Roles in bigger films such as Jack the Bear (1993) and A Far Off Place (1993) followed shortly after.
Following high school graduation in 1994 from Harpeth Hall, a Nashville all girls school, Reese Witherspoon decided to put her acting career on hold and attend Stanford University where she would major in English literature. However, her collegiate plans were shortly dashed when she accepted roles to star in two major motion pictures: Fear (1996) alongside Mark Wahlberg and Freeway (1996) with Kiefer Sutherland. Although neither film was a huge box-office success, they did help to establish Reese as a rising starlet in Hollywood and open the door for bigger and better film roles. Those bigger roles came in movies such as Pleasantville (1998), Election (1999) and Cruel Intentions (1999).
Reese Witherspoon 's biggest role to date came as Elle Woods in the 2001 comedy Legally Blonde (2001). The movie was huge box-office smash and established Reese as one of the top female draws in Hollywood. In 2002, Reese had a follow-up hit with Sweet Home Alabama (2002) which went on to gross over $100 million dollars at the box office.
Off the screen, Reese Witherspoon has been married to Ryan Phillippe since 1999. They met at her 21st birthday party and subsequently worked together in Cruel Intentions (1999). They have two children: a daughter, Ava Elizabeth (born 9 September 1999) and a son, Deacon (born 23 October 2003).The same year that Reese Witherspoon received accolades for Walk the Line, her actor husband Ryan Phillippe won an Oscar for the race exploration film Crash. She and Phillippe were married from 1999 to 2007 and there union yielded two children. And during the course of her marriage Reese earned the bulk of her, to date, 26 nominations and 30 awards. Although Reese may have stumbled early on in her career by losing the lead role in the movie Cape Fear to actress Juliette Lewis, she rebounded well to go on to be named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People by People Magazine in 2002 and to reside over her own production company named Type A Films. While developing projects for her company, such as Sports Widow that is slated to come out in 2008, Reese also starred in the political thriller Rendition with fellow actor and rumored boyfriend Jake Gyllenhaal.
Even with an extremely busy career, Reese Witherspoon finds time to do charitable works. She is a advocate for the organization Save the Children and she also, in 2006, aided those victimized by Hurricane Katrina. Reese Witherspoon is a recognized brilliant actress, devoted mother and active participant in bettering life for others.