Nearly every woman has a story of abuse, whether they suffered it themselves or they witnessed the abuse of someone else.
When we think of actress and producer Reese Witherspoon, we likely think of the confident, beautiful woman we see today. Yet Reese recently opened up about an abusive relationship she endured when she was very young that changed how she sees herself and the world.
“A line got drawn in the sand and it got crossed, and my brain just switched,” Reese said. “I knew it was going to be very difficult, but I just couldn’t go any further. It was profound and I was young, really young.”
Reese shared her emotional story of psychological and emotional abuse in a Super Bowl Sunday interview with Oprah Winfrey and Mindy Kaling, her costars in the new “Wrinkle In Time” movie.
When Oprah asked the women what was the most difficult decision they’d ever had to make to fulfill their destiny, Reese’s honest reply left everyone staggered.
“For me, it was leaving an abusive relationship,” said the Hollywood star. While she did not name her past abuser, she stated that the abuse had made her feel worthless. Her self-esteem was in tatters when she finally worked up the courage to walk away, and doing so gave her the motivation to pursue her dreams.
“I could never be the person I am today,” she said. “It changed who I was on a cellular level, the fact that I stood up for myself.”
“People say to me that knew me then, ‘You’re a completely different person.’ 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 before.”
Although the decision was difficult at the time, it ended up leading her on the successful career path she is on today. In fact, she drew upon this memory when she made the decision to produce and star in the Emmy-winning HBO series “Big Little Lies.” In that show, a character is mentally and physically abused.
Reese also recalls talking with colleagues on the set of “Big Little Lies” and being astounded to find that “there wasn’t a woman there that hadn’t been affected by abuse.”
Reese’s brave confession sheds further light on the abuse that countless women suffer every day. Hopefully, her words will encourage others to recognize and escape abusive situations and see what joy life has to offer.
Watch Reese tell her inspiring story below, and share.