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August 2, 2005

Reese Witherspoon: What You Don't Know About Her

Reese Witherspoon doesn't want to follow in anyone's footsteps. Not Meg (Ryan), not even Julia (Roberts). And she certainly doesn't want to be just another Box Office Blonde. Here, she talks about why it's not cute to act stupid, what her body will never be and the one fight she wants to take public.

reese witherspoon cover

Reese Witherspoon

Photo Credit: Matthew Rolson

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Oh, she's decorous all right, sitting there in her black ballet flats, her ankles crossed neatly, her blonde hair folded into a knot at the nape of her neck. She's even reading a novel, by Kazuo Ishiguro, while she waits patiently for a table at her neighborhood café in Brentwood. She didn't even pull rank; she just took a seat outside and calmly pulled out her book. But looks can be deceiving, especially in Hollywood. The day Reese Witherspoon is busy playing "Just Another Soccer Mom" is the same day that the 29- year-old star issued a broadside ‑- in a front-page story in the New York Times, no less ‑- condemning the paparazzi for their increasingly "chaotic and lawless" behavior. After years as a favorite target of photographers, Witherspoon, along with a handful of other A-list celebrities, was drawing the line. "Oh, did that run today?" she asks when finally seated comfortably at a corner table. "I'll have to pick up a copy. What did it say I said?"

So much for the soccer-mom act. In fact, so much for pretty much whatever else you thought you knew about Witherspoon, who is often depicted as leading the perfect, have-it-all-life: her perfect southern upbringing (in Nashville, the daughter of a doctor), her perfect career ($15 million per film), her perfect marriage (to actor Ryan Phillippe), her two perfect children (a daughter, Ava, and a son, Deacon) and her perfectly adorable little nose. But spend 90 minutes breaking bread with her (yes, she actually eats bread, along with real butter), and you walk away with a completely different impression of the cool blonde A-lister, your head reeling with her many, many opinions. Call them "Witherspoonisms" if you will:

  • She thinks she's too short.
  • She doesn't think she's as thin as she used to be.
  • She doesn't care about not being ultra-thin, but short's another matter.
  • She isn't too worried about turning 30 next year, even in Hollywood.
  • She thinks her surgeon dad should join Doctors Without Borders when he retires, instead of playing golf.
  • She read serious novelists, like Ishiguro and Faulkner, even before Oprah made it cool.
  • She is really sick of being hounded by the paparazzi, and she's starting to fight back.
  • She is really, really sick of all the other young, blonde starlets in Hollywood who think it's cute to act stupid.

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