Reese Witherspoon has opened up about her experience of leaving an emotionally abusive partner in a new interview for Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine.
The interview, in which A Wrinkle In Time co-stars Reese, Oprah and Mindy Kaling discuss the #MeToo movement and Time’s Up programme, sees Oprah ask the women ‘What’s the most difficult decision you’ve had to make to fulfil your destiny?’
‘For me, probably leaving an abusive relationship,’ Reese reveals, before explaining that the abuse was both ‘psychological’ and ‘emotional.’
‘A line got drawn in the sand and it got crossed, and my brain just switched,’ she said of her decision to end the relationship with an unnamed partner. ‘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.’ Without having taken a stand for herself, Reese revealed, the actress and producer ‘could never be the person [she is] today.’
‘It changed who I was on a cellular level, the fact that I stood up for myself,’ she said, adding that choosing to leave a manipulative relationship can be ‘wrought with self-doubt, particularly if someone damages your self-esteem.’
‘People say to me that knew me then, “You’re a completely different person,”’ she revealed. ‘I didn’t have self-esteem. I’m a different person now and it’s part of the reason I can stand up and say, “Yes, I’m ambitious.” Because someone tried to take that from me.’
Reese went on to explain that her experiences helped inform her decision to produce and star in HBO’s Big Little Lies, which deals with the subject of domestic abuse. ‘There wasn’t a woman there that hadn’t been affected by abuse,’ she told Oprah.
‘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,’ she added.