Reese Witherspoon Shares the "S--tty" Reason the Media Treated Her Differently Than Britney Spears

Reese Witherspoon and Britney Spears both got divorced in November 2006 and were both hounded by the paparazzi. However, the actress says the media treated them differently.

By Elyse Dupre Apr 28, 2021 2:43 PMTags

Reese Witherspoon knows firsthand what it's like to live in the public eye.

In a new interview for Time, the 45-year-old actress reflects on the scrutiny she's faced over the years.

It was in November 2006 that Witherspoon filed for divorce from her now ex-husband Ryan Phillippe, with whom she shares daughter Ava Phillippe, 21, and Deacon Phillippe, 17. She also has an 8-year-old son, Tennessee Toth, with her husband Jim Toth.

Looking back at that time, the Legally Blonde alum recalls being hounded by the paparazzi, who she says followed her to church, to her kids' school and to their soccer practice. She tells the magazine about a time when an RV with photographers parked outside her California home and pointed their cameras into her kitchen window to snap pictures every hour of every day. As she remembers, "My children will tell you stories about being in preschool and people climbing on the roofs of our cars."

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25 Fascinating Facts About Reese Witherspoon

Witherspoon, who later moved her family to Nashville, compares her experience to Britney Spears' in that the 39-year-old singer also filed for divorce from her now ex-husband Kevin Federline in November 2006 and was constantly chased by the paparazzi with her two kids Sean Preston Federline, 15, and Jayden James Federline, 14.

Santiago Felipe/Getty Images, Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Hulu

Still, Witherspoon knows the media treated her differently than Spears. The Oscar winner told Time women like Spears, Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan were painted as "bad" while women like herself and Jennifer Garner were labeled as "good," pointing to how her screaming at the cameras never stuck to her reputation like it did with her fellow stars.

"What if the media had decided I was something else?" Witherspoon asked. "I would be in a totally different position. I want to say it's my decisions or the career choices I made, but it felt very arbitrary. And kind of sh-tty."

The New York Times examined Spears' treatment by the media—along with her conservatorship battle—in its documentary "Framing Britney Spears." Hilton reflected on this topic in a February episode of her podcast This Is Paris.

"I've been reading all of these articles coming out where they were just saying, like, Britney, Paris and just, like, a group of us were just were treated so unfairly and just, like, this really misogynistic view and just being very cruel and mean and making fun of us," she said. "It made me think a lot this week, reading all these new things that are coming out after the Britney film."

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