Reese Witherspoon Recalls Having to "Muscle Through" Early Motherhood Due to Lack of "Support"

Reese Witherspoon reflected on the tough first months of motherhood, sharing that she was "delirious" after giving birth to daughter Ava Phillippe.

By Cydney Contreras Aug 27, 2021 10:13 PMTags
Watch: Reese Witherspoon & Ryan Phillippe's Son Is Dad's Twin!

Reese Witherspoon's first months as a mother were not just like heaven.

In the latest episode of Dax Shepard's podcast Armchair Expert, the mother of three spoke to Kristen Bell and Monica Padman about the challenges she faced when she and ex-husband Ryan Phillippe welcomed their daughter Ava Phillippe.

"I did not have a lot of support with my first baby and I learned really early, like this is not going to work," the 45-year-old actress shared. "I tried to muscle through for five months with Ava, just not sleeping and I became delirious."

She remarked that she "couldn't have worked" through Ava's first few months of life, before acknowledging, "I was lucky enough to have money saved and I didn't have to work but it's just not a one-person job."

The Legally Blonde actress added, "I would even say it's not a two-person job."

Reese gave birth to Ava in September 1999, when the star was 23, about two months after she and her Cruel Intentions co-star wed at a South Carolina plantation.

25 Fascinating Facts About Reese Witherspoon

Reese and Ryan welcomed son Deacon Phillippe in October 2003, before separating in the fall of 2006.

At the time of their split, a rep for the couple shared, "We are saddened to announce that Reese and Ryan have decided to formally separate. They remain committed to their family and we ask that you please respect their privacy and the safety of their children at this time."


The couple has publicly said very little about their divorce, but in 2015, Ryan stated that their celebrity status and age played a role in their decision to go their separate ways. "I think more of the problem was age, you know, when we got together so young," he told Larry King Now. "I think it can create issues—two people in this industry—because there's so much noise that goes around with it."

And in 2008, Reese reflected on being a people pleaser, admitting that she was more focused on Ryan's happiness than her own. "I wasn't good about protecting myself," she explained to Parade. "I spent a lot of my 20s just trying to make other people happy, rather than trying to figure out if doing that made me happy."

She continued, "There are things in my life that are hard to reconcile, like divorce... Sometimes it is very difficult to make sense of how it could possibly happen. Laying blame is so easy. I don't have time for hate or negativity in my life. There's no room for it. When you make wrong choices, you have to take responsibility for them: ‘What part of this do I own?'"


The exes have since moved on from their divorce, happily co-parenting Ava and Deacon, who look every bit like their mom and dad.

The parents are even on the same page when it comes to raising their children to be respectable young adults. According to L.A.-based, Tennessee-native Reese, the kiddos were sent to summer camp in the south so they could be exposed to "people who grew up completely different, learning different things, saying different things." (Reese is also mom to 8-year-old Tennessee Toth, with husband Jim Toth.)

She explained that she wanted them to find the way to "be civil" with individuals who have opposing views. 

And it's a two-way street: Reese admitted that her kids "constantly educate" her on different topics. 


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