Reese Witherspoon Opens Up for the First Time About Her Struggles as a New Mom

Photo: (Photo : Chelsea Guglielmino/Getty Images)

Hollywood superstar Reese Witherspoon struggled with becoming a new mother after she gave birth to her first child, Ava. Now that Ava is 21 years old and creating a life for herself, the box office star is looking back on her journey into motherhood.

Speaking as a guest in the "Armchair Expert" podcast, Witherspoon said that she had to "muscle through" the first five months of being a new mother. This was in 1999 when she was also newly married to actor Ryan Phillippe.

Witherspoon said that she didn't get "a lot of support" and was on the brink of becoming delirious because Ava wouldn't sleep. She exclaimed that first-time parenting shouldn't be a one-person or two-person job because help should be available to new moms.

The actress was fresh off her success in "Legally Blonde" when she started her family with Phillippe. She said that she was lucky to afford not to work temporarily and be a hands-on mother.

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Four years later, Witherspoon and Phillipe, then regarded as one of Hollywood's golden couples, welcomed their second son, Deacon, who is now 17 years old. The pair, however, decided to divorce in 2008 and has since been co-parenting their children.

Co-Parenting and Friendship After Divorce

After her split with Phillippe, Witherspoon admitted in "60 Minutes" that she spent "a few years" to make herself better. While she found new love with her second husband, Jim Toth, a talent agent, the actress made co-parenting work with her ex.

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Phillippe said that raising kids as divorced parents can be tricky, but both he and Witherspoon had to learn to do trade-offs and put their children first. He commended Witherspoon for being "healthy" about how they manage co-parenting. Philippe said that he has a good friendship with his ex-wife.

In 2019, Phillippe relied on Witherspoon to testify when he was accused of assault by Elsie Hewitt, who was then his girlfriend. According to reports, Philippe was to go to trial with his ex-wife as his character witness, but they settled the case instead.

Both parents, however, each have a third child with their new partners. Witherspoon welcomed Tennessee James with Toth in 2012, while Phillippe has a daughter in 2011 with then-girlfriend actress Alexis Knapp.

In 2020, Witherspoon and Phillippe made headlines again when they spent Deacon's 17th birthday as a family at the home that Witherspoon shared with Toth.

Ava Goes to College, Deacon Signs Record Contract

Witherspoon said she was very emotional when Ava moved out of their house to pursue a college degree at UC Berkley. She told Ellen DeGeneres on her talk show that she cried on her daughter's bed the day Ava went away.

The proud mother said that Ava was always an outspoken child with plenty of good ideas. The 45-year-old mom said that she loves to learn about women's issues from her young daughter, who "cares deeply" about what's happening in the world. Ava has a few years to go at UC Berkley.

On the other hand, Deacon will be leaving high school this year and has already landed a recording contract with Sony Music. However, Witherspoon's youngest son, Tennessee, won't be leaving home for a long while since he's still in grade school.

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