Reese Witherspoon On Leaving An Abusive Relationship: 'It Changed Who I Was On A Cellular Level'

One of the Time's Up movement's forerunners Reese Witherspoon opens up about a previous relationship that left her psychologically and verbally abused.

The Academy Award winner recently sat down for an interview with Oprah Winfrey alongside their other Wrinkle in Time costar Mindy Kaling. The interview series is part of the Oprah Winfrey Network's Super Soul Sunday.

When Winfrey asked Witherspoon and Kaling about their difficult decisions in fulfilling their destiny, the Big Little Lies actress shares how leaving her past abusive relationship helped her define her own character today.

A Change 'On A Cellular Level'

While Witherspoon doesn't name her abuser, the actress talks candidly about how it affected her deeply even at a tender age.

"A line got drawn in the sand and it got crossed and my brain just switched. I knew it was going to be very difficult, but I just couldn't go any further," the 41-year-old actress responds when asked about making the choice to leave the relationship, adding that she was very young at the time.

"It changed who I was on a cellular level," Witherspoon explains. "The fact that I stood up for myself."

The actress explained that leaving these types of situations is difficult especially for those suffering from self-doubt and a damaged self-esteem.

Witherspoon's close encounters with abuse also play a big part in her drive to tell stories about it including her last small-screen project Big Little Lies. She shared that the women involved in the HBO hit show would sit around and share their experiences before, saying that all of them in the group has been affected by some form of abuse.

Sexual Assault Experience

It's not the first time Witherspoon opened up about being the victim of abuse. During an emotional speech at the Elle Women in Hollywood event in October 2017, the actress admitted that she has had multiple experiences with assault and harassment in the industry. Her first brush with sexual assault took place when she was only 16.

" [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 says. She added that similar incidents have happened to her numerous times throughout her career.

Witherspoon, Kaling, and Winfrey share the cover of the latest issue of O Magazine that will be on newsstands on Feb. 13.

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