Jackie Nickerson/Vanity Fair
Reese Witherspoon is speaking up on her own terms.
Today, the 43-year-old actress and producer is a household name with an Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globes on the list of accolades in her long esteemed Hollywood career. Nearly three decades earlier, Witherspoon was a 15-year-old breakout star, having earned initial fame in A Man on the Moon.
Despite her success, her early career as a child actor spurs darker memories. When asked "is it dangerous to be a child working in an adult world" in an interview with Vanity Fair, Witherspoon agreed and said, "Bad things happened to me. I was assaulted, harassed. It wasn't isolated."
Discussing her experiences has also been a challenge. "I recently had a journalist ask me about it. She said, Well, why didn't you speak up sooner? And I thought, that's so interesting to talk to someone who experienced those things and then judge them for the way they decide to speak about them. You tell your story in your own time when you're ready. But the shame that she tried to put on me was unreal, and then she wrote about how selfish I was for not bringing it up sooner," Witherspoon explained.