Reese Witherspoon is realizing vulnerability is a superpower.
The Big Little Lies star got emotional while speaking about the personal challenges she's faced over the past year.
"I've been trying really hard to find balance outside of work," Witherspoon shared at her company Hello Sunshine's Shine Away event in Los Angeles Oct. 21, where E! News was present. "I'm a person who fills my schedule with busyness, so that I feel less alone or less nervous or less unsettled."
While her work in Hollywood has always been a big focus, she shared, "I started to realize that isn't going to work for me. About a year ago, I was like, 'I was a robot and the robot broke.' I cried and cried."
Witherspoon said she texted friend Tracee Ellis Ross to help process the revelation.
"It actually makes me feel very vulnerable sharing that with y'all, but I think it's important," the Oscar winner continued while tearing up onstage. "We hold up so much for so many. My beautiful friend Cleo Wade just wrote this gorgeous poem... about the glue in people's lives. And sometimes you are the glue in everybody's life, whether it's at work or being a mom or being a partner, but who is holding you together, you know? It's really important to remember."
She said she "burst into tears" when she read the poem, "because I didn't feel like I was taking very good care of myself, and I wasn't asking other people for help."
The Reese's Book Club founder—who revealed her breakup with husband Jim Toth in March—shared later in the discussion some of the ways she's learned more about herself over the last 30 years, in the hope of inspiring others.
"I feel like I've learned a lot," the 47-year-old noted, "because I did the work—the hard work—in my early 20s and reading every book and every self-help book and going to therapy and really trying to understand myself and forgive the parts of myself that were broken and the parts of myself where I felt like a failure, because it was a huge part of it."
She added, "Instead of thinking of it as a failure, I think, 'Gosh, I've learned so much from that moment.' And I don't blame others: I just reward myself for the hard things that little Reese went through."
Read on for a deeper look into Witherspoon's life over the years with her kids Ava, 24, and Deacon, 19—who she shares with ex Ryan Phillippe—and Tennessee, 11, who she shares with Toth.