January 31, 2018 | Alexa Terpanjian

Surprising Facts About Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon may look like America’s sweetheart (which she kind of is), but this gal has depth beyond her big smile. She’s got a stellar movie career, a rising production company, a clothing/lifestyle brand, and is involved across different children’s and women’s advocacy organizations—plus, an Academy Award, a few Emmys, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to boot. Reese is on fire and she will not be put out. Read on to learn 41 surprising facts about Reese Witherspoon.

Reese Witherspoon Facts

1. What’s in a Name?

Witherspoon doesn’t go by her first name, Laura. In fact, "Reese" is her mom’s maiden name, making her full name Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon.

Reese Witherspoon facts Getty Images

2. You Can’t Take the South out of the Girl

Born in New Orleans and raised in Nashville, Witherspoon is a Southern belle and loves where she’s from, but says the best part about living in LA is “the sunshine" and that "It’s outdoorsy, easy-going and comfortable.”

Reese Witherspoon FactsWikimedia Commons, dtstuff9

3…And Tater Tots

For Witherspoon, eating fun things like chicken fingers alongside your kids is the coolest thing about being a mom.

Reese Witherspoon facts Getty Images

4. Fantasy Dinner

In a perfect set up, if Witherspoon could entertain anyone in her dining room, it would be a round-up of all the female senators. She would make lasagna for dinner, and they’d have snow cones for dessert while discussing why there aren't more female senators. Preach, Reese.

Reese Witherspoon FactsWikimedia Commons


5. Ola South America!

Her favorite country is France, and the next country she wants to visit is Venezuela.

Reese Witherspoon FactsWikimedia Commons, Eva Rinaldi

6. It Would Totally Stick

If she were to give up acting to become a hip hop artist (fat chance), she says she would go by the stage name "Little Spoon."

Reese Witherspoon FactsWikimedia Commons, GabboT

7. Right off the Bat

Witherspoon’s first taste of the spotlight was when she was seven and modelled in an ad for a friend’s flower shop. She was such a natural, her parents enrolled her in acting lessons.

Reese Witherspoon FactsFlickr, Guise Archives

8. Drama Teacher’s Pet

Her first acting classes were at the community college in her hometown, and by the age of nine she was doing so well, she was able to upgrade and take adult acting classes.

Reese Witherspoon FactsWikimedia Commons, Casey Kennelly

9. To the Moon and Back

At just 14 years old, Witherspoon showed up to an open casting call in Nashville to land a part as an extra. Instead, she was cast as the lead in her first movie, The Man in the Moon. Roger Ebert praised the film, including it at No. 8 in his Top 10 films of 1991.

Reese Witherspoon facts The Man in the Moon (1991), MGM


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10. Binge Watch

Witherspoon’s favorite TV show of all time is the AMC hit Mad Men, but it's not the show she’d love to make a cameo in—that would be HBO’s Girls.

Reese Witherspoon facts Getty Images



11. A History-Making Family

John Witherspoon, one of 56 signers and the only active clergyman to sign America’s Declaration of Independence, is a distant ancestor of Reese’s.

Reese Witherspoon FactsWikipedia

12. Southern Hospitality

Witherspoon cherishes her roots. Her lifestyle brand Draper James is a line of clothing that pays tribute to the South, her personal style, and her grandparents—the name is a portmanteau of their middle names.

Reese Witherspoon facts Getty Images

13. Finger Lickin’ Good

Can’t leave out a Southern cooking staple—Witherspoon’s favorite food is fried chicken, and her least favorite is pickles.

Reese Witherspoon FactsFlickr, David Torcivia

14. Some-bunny Loves Easter

Witherspoon is a big fan of Easter. She hunts for Easter eggs with the family, and even launched a line of bunny clothing for the special occasion through her brand, Draper James.

Reese Witherspoon FactsWikimedia Commons, GabboT

15. Playing the Part

It took an intense six months for Witherspoon to learn how to sing as June Carter Cash before filming Walk the Line (2005). Witherspoon sang all of Cash’s songs—in front of a live audience!

Reese Witherspoon facts Walk the Line (2005), Twentieth Century Fox

16. Stage Fright

Witherspoon’s vocal portrayal of the country icon was so well-received, she was approached by multiple record companies to pursue a country music career. She declined.

Reese Witherspoon FactsShutterstock


17. No Frills

On her pizza, she goes straight for the classic: pepperoni.

Reese Witherspoon FactsShutterstock

18. Cringeworthy High School Memories

One of the (probably many) things Witherspoon wishes she knew while in high school was to not wear tanned hose—which is what she wore to her prom with a red dress.

Reese Witherspoon FactsWikimedia Commons, Jenn Deering Davis

19. Not “Best Smile?”

If Hollywood were to have a yearbook, Witherspoon supposes she would be voted “Life of the Party.”

Reese Witherspoon factsGetty Images

20.Red, Pink, and Blonde

Witherspoon was a cheerleader in high school–a wrestling cheerleader, in fact. Although it's a bit of a strange sport to cheer for, as Witherspoon once told Jimmy Fallon, “In the South, you have a cheerleader for basically everything.”

Reese Witherspoon FactsShutterstock

21. Stranger Things

Witherspoon is a self-declared Tupperware fanatic. She is obsessed, and has publicly said she cannot walk by a Container Store without stopping.

Reese Witherspoon FactsShutterstock

22. Legally Dorky

She also goes wild in a bookstore, “It makes my heart beat hard because I want to buy everything.” She refers to herself as “a big dork who reads loads of books,” which earned her the nickname “Little Type A” as a school girl for being a good student and getting good grades.

Reese Witherspoon FactsShutterstock


23. Whatever Floats Her Boat

Witherspoon is an avid collector of antique linen and embroidered vintage clothing.

Reese Witherspoon FactsShutterstock

24. Other Side of the Camera

Quite the serial entrepreneur, Witherspoon founded her production company, aptly named Type A Films, in 2000. She then merged with Bruna Papandrea’s Make Movies company to create Pacific Standard. Hit films like Gone Girl and Wild are among their productions. The company has since changed its name to Hello Sunshine, and is now helmed solely by Witherspoon once more.

Reese Witherspoon factsGetty Images

25. A Style of Her Own

She picks pearls over diamonds, heels over flats, and believes the best fashion trend of all time is skinny jeans.

Reese Witherspoon factsGetty Images

26. Uncharted Territory

Reese Witherspoon has had to hire a hypnotist for her sex scenes in order to calm her nerves. Before filming the sex scene in Wild (2014), Witherspoon was so nervous, she had to get the help of a hypnosis professional to ease her into it. She also had to contact Wild author Cheryl Strayed for some advice on how to accurately shoot heroin—Witherspoon wanted to make sure it looked authentic.

Reese Witherspoon factsGetty Images

27. An Interesting Time

If Witherspoon could pick any time and place to live, it would be America in the 1940s.

Reese Witherspoon FactsWikimedia Commons

28. Cuteness Overload

According to her, the cutest thing on planet Earth, "is babies in their Halloween costumes.” Hard to argue with that one.

Reese Witherspoon FactsShutterstock

29. Saving Lives on the Side

As the daughter of parents who are both medically trained (her dad was an otolaryngologist and her mom was a pediatric nurse and nursing professor), it’s no surprise that Witherspoon says if she could moonlight as another profession, it would be as a pediatric cardiologist.

Reese Witherspoon FactsShutterstock

30. Rare Breed

Somewhere in between a hummingbird and a squirrel is Witherspoon’s animal energy. She says she possesses a buzzing and nervous squirrely energy.

Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon FactsShutterstock

31. Through the Eyes of a Child

If she could switch lives with a person for one day, it wouldn’t be with a household celebrity name. Witherspoon says it would be with her baby.

Reese Witherspoon factsGetty Images

32. Muscle Memory

Leading up to the production of Water for Elephants (2011), Witherspoon went to circus school for three months. She practiced acrobatics and trapeze with Cirque du Soleil performers, and thanks her days as a gymnast for her flexibility.

Reese Witherspoon factsGetty Images

33. Horses Are for Amateurs

Witherspoon calls herself a tomboy, and enjoys doing things that are a little dangerous—she did all of her stunts herself in Water for Elephants (2011), and spent six months with a 42-year old elephant named Tai for the flick.

Reese Witherspoon factsWater for Elephants (2011), Twentieth Century Fox

34. Not-so New Advice

The most important advice Witherspoon will pass on to her kids? "Listen to your mother!” Yeah, her and every  other mother on the planet.

Reese Witherspoon factsGetty Images

35. A Real Gentleman

She met her husband, talent agent Jim Toth, while being obnoxiously hit on by his friend. She thought Toth was a really good pal when he came over to apologize for his friend’s behavior, and the rest is history.

Reese Witherspoon factsGetty Images


36. Light Her Fire

If given the chance to be a groupie for any band living or dead, Witherspoon would choose to be one for The Doors. Very groovy, Reese.

Rock and Roll factsGetty Images

37. The Gift That Gives Both Ways

She confesses the best gift she’s ever received is the best gift she’s ever given: it’s her kids. Children Ava Elizabeth and Deacon were both born with ex-husband Ryan Phillippe, and are named after Phillippe’s grandmother and ex-Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Deacon Phillippe, respectively. She also has a third child with Toth named Tennessee.

Reese Witherspoon factsGetty Images

38. Would There Be an Elle Woods Otherwise?

Witherspoon was recommended for the part of Cher in Clueless. Director Amy Heckerling really liked her and was impressed by her talent, but stuck to her guns, knowing that Alicia Silverstone was meant to be Cher.

Reese Witherspoon FactsFlickr, Walt Disney Television

39. Win Some, Lose Some

Even with an outstanding career, Witherspoon turned down lead roles in both Scream (1996) and Urban Legend (1998). She was also considered for the role of Juliet in Romeo + Juliet (1996), but lost out to Claire Danes.

Reese Witherspoon factsGetty Images


40. Best-Loved Picks

Witherspoon's favorite Disney character is Tinkerbell, and her favorite board game is Taboo.

Reese Witherspoon FactsShutterstock

41. Run-in With the Law

A 2013 viral tape showed her screaming at a police officer while being arrested for disorderly conduct, but most don’t know that she also shamefully confessed to bold-faced lying to the officer during the incident: as she said, "I saw [the cop] arresting my husband and I literally panicked. I said all kinds of crazy things. I told him I was pregnant. I'm not pregnant! I said crazy things."

Reese Witherspoon factsGetty Images

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

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