Her breakout role was as a blond who shouldn't be underestimated in the 2001 hit comedy "Legally Blonde," and Reese Witherspoon, like her character Elle Woods, is a force to be reckoned with. Consider the name of her production company: Type A Films. (Her parents' nickname for her when she was youg was "Little Miss Type A.")
Witherspoon, daughter of an otolaryngologist father and a nursing professor mother, grew up in Nashville, Tenn. At age 7, she was cast in a local florist’s TV commercial, which sparked her interest in acting. She landed her first film role at age 14 when she attended an open casting call for the independent movie “The Man in the Moon.” Her performance as a young girl experiencing first love received critical raves, earned her a Young Artist Award nomination for best young actress in a motion picture and launched her career.
Witherspoon worked steadily throughout the 1990s, appearing in six movies throughout 1998 and 1999 alone. Her performance as overachieving high school student Tracy Flick in “Election” earned her a Golden Globe nomination.
She met her future husband, actor Ryan Phillippe, on the set of their film “Cruel Intentions” in 1998, and the couple married the following year. Witherspoon gave birth to two children, Ava Elizabeth in 1999 and Deacon Reese in 2003.
The box-office success of “Legally Blonde” made Witherspoon a bankable star and allowed her to form her own production company. She executive produced (and starred in) the sequel in 2003.
Witherspoon’s acting career reached even greater heights in 2005 when she appeared as June Carter Cash, wife of legendary country singer Johnny Cash, in the biopic “Walk the Line.” The role earned Witherspoon a long list of awards, including an Academy Award for lead actress.
Around the same time, reports surfaced of trouble in Witherspoon’s marriage to Phillippe, and after several media stories about the couple receiving marriage counseling, they announced their formal separation in late 2006. The couple was officially divorced in October 2007.
Witherspoon is an active supporter of the charities Save the Children and Children’s Defense Fund and is the very first "global ambassador" for the cosmetics company Avon.
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