Reese Witherspoon Opens up About Her 'Difficult Decision' to Leave an Abusive Relationship

In a new interview with her A Wrinkle In Time co-star, Reese Witherspoon is opening up to Oprah Winfrey about once being in an abusive relationship and her difficult decision to leave.

In a clip from Super Soul Sunday, the 41-year-old Witherspoon told Winfrey she dealt with "psychological, verbal" abuse from a person years ago.

When asked how she got out of the relationship, Witherspoon explained, "A line got drawn in the sand and it got crossed, and my brain just switched and I knew it was going to be very difficult, but I just couldn't go any further. But it was profound and I was young."

The Big Little Lies star said the moment played a major role in changing her life.

"I could never be the person I am today," she told Winfrey, reports CBS News. "It changed who I was on a cellular level, the fact that I stood up for myself. None of those leaving those situations's wrought with self-doubt, particularly if someone damages your self-esteem."

People who knew her at the time tell her she is a completely different person today. At that point, she did not have any self-esteem, but today she is an ambitious A-list Hollywood star and producer.

Witherspoon also said her past informed her work on HBO's Big Little Lies. The series based on Liane Moriarty's novel of the same name deals with domestic violence. "There wasn't a woman there that hadn't been affected by abuse," she said of the cast, which also included Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley.

The actress has been among the biggest supporters of the Me Too movement and helped launch the Time's Up initiative.

"Social media has opened up a conversation that was not possible even 10 years ago. Women are talking about things they've never spoken about, and they're actually being heard," Witherspoon told Winfrey.

In October, Witherspoon revealed she was assaulted by a director when she was 16 years old, and it was not an isolated incident.

"[I feel] true disgust at the director who assaulted me when I was 16 years old and anger at the agents and the producers who made me feel that silence was a condition of my employment," Witherspoon said at Elle's 24th annual Women in Hollywood Celebration. "I wish that I could tell you that was an isolated incident in my career, but sadly it wasn't... I've had multiple experiences of harassment and sexual assault and I don't speak about them very often."


Witherspoon, Winfrey and Mindy Kaling star in Ava DuVernay's film adaptation of Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time, which opens on March 9.

Photo credit: Instagram/ Reese Witherspoon