Oprah Winfrey opened up about how Reese Witherspoon responded to news about the sexual assault and harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein when it came out in October.
The Weinstein Conversations
Winfrey recalled that it was during a conversation with other women that they happen to talk about Weinstein's scandal. The pair was filming A Wrinkle In Time when the conversation happened. It was also a couple of days after victims of Weinstein's assault came forward with their accusations in an exclusive interview with the New York Times.
The talk show host told Salma Hayek, during the special taping of her Oprah at the Apollo show on Wednesday, that Witherspoon displayed signs of having post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. She suffered from sleepless nights and would tear up at the mention of Weinstein's name.
"Everyone, including Reese — I've said this to her — was acting like, I was seeing some of the girls at my school behave, who were suffering from PTSD. Everybody was acting like they were afraid and they were having the conversation," Winfrey said, adding that she remembered how Witherspoon acted and felt toward the scandal.
"And I remember Reese saying, 'Oh god, this is just so upsetting. And someone mentions his name, I start tearing up. And every time I hear someone else speak, it just causes me to be upset and I haven't slept in two days,'" Winfrey recalled.
It was at that moment that she pointed out that the actress and the other women in the conversation could be suffering from PTSD. Winfrey then prodded them for details and asked whether something similar to Weinstein's alleged sexual assault happened to them. However, no one opened up to her at that time.
Later that month, Witherspoon opened up about her personal experience of sexual assault during her passionate speech at Elle magazine's 24th Annual Women in Hollywood Celebration. She admitted that Weinstein's scandal brought back memories of the time when a director, whose name she did not divulge, assaulted her when she was 16 years old. It brought other painful memories of sexual assault, which she rarely talks about.
In the same podcast interview, Hayek shared that she also suffered from PTSD following her personal experience of sexual assault from Weinstein. The Frida actress recalled tearing up when the New York Times asked for her side of the story. Hayek ended up not doing the interview because she started crying because of her PTSD. She eventually detailed her allegations against Weinstein in December.
Oprah at the Apollo airs on Feb. 27 at 10 p.m. EST on Oprah Winfrey Network. The show is also available at Winfrey's Super Soul Conversations podcast.