You saw her in Wild, and now Reese Witherspoon appeared on 60 Minutes Sunday night, sitting down for a candid chat with Charlie Rose about the ups and downs of her personal and professional life, and how the two intersected. But, even more telling, the Oscar-winning actress explains how she dealt with being called a "washed up" star to bouncing back with one of the best years of her career.
During the interview, Witherspoon opened up about how her divorce from Ryan Phillippe had a negative impact on her career. "I spent, you know, a few years just trying to feel better," she explained, adding, "You can't really be very creative when you feel like your brain is scrambled eggs." Witherspoon officially split from Phillippe in 2007, and in the years that followed she starred in box office and critical duds like How Do You Know, This Means War, and Water for Elephants.
"I was just kind of floundering career-wise... I wasn't making things I was passionate about," Witherspoon admitted during the 60 Minutes profile. "And it was really clear that audiences weren't responding to anything I was putting out there."
While signs of the Witherspoonaissance started around 2012 with the drama Mud (the same movie that happened in the midst of the McConaughaissance), that was the same year an article in the New Yorker that declared her a "washed-up" Hollywood star. Witherspoon said of the unfair, and quite frankly untrue title, "It really hurt my feelings. Really hurt my feelings." Watch a clip from Witherspoon's 60 Minutes segment here:
As anyone who saw Wild (which has earned her a Golden Globe and SAG nod) and Girl Gone (which she produced) knows, Witherspoon bounced back and then some in 2014. Wild feels like an especially spot-on representation of Witherspoon's comeback, following the story of a woman who finds herself again after enduring a devastating personal loss and loss of self. It's no wonder Cheryl Strayed's inspirational story resonated so much with the actress, and why she was able to bring it to life so vividly.
Then again, Witherspoon is no stranger to choosing roles in which women come back better than ever after having a setback. Witherspoon has been the queen of the bounce-back, even before her own.
What better revenge could you get on your snooty ex-boyfriend (and society, for that matter) that didn't think because you're a beautiful blonde that you can't be taken seriously then graduating from Harvard Law? Elle Woods was the ultimate role model.
Walk the Line
Witherspoon won an Oscar for her portrayal of June Carter Cash, an artist who prevailed in the male-dominated music industry, and found true love (with Johnny Cash) after two divorces.
As the preyed-upon Annette, she may have lost a lot in her young life, but she got revenge on the rich, sexually aggressive step-siblings that turned her life upside down. Even better, she got to leave with her pride in tact.