Ryan Phillippe Opens Up About How People Always Used To Try And ‘Pit’ Him Against Reese Witherspoon When They Were Still Married

Ryan Phillippe and Reese Witherspoon in Cruel Intentions screenshot
(Image credit: Youtube)

For nearly a decade, there was a time when Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe was one of Hollywood’s it couples, especially as they became costars on 1999’s Cruel Intentions. The couple would go on to get married, start a family together and then get divorced, all as the world watched. It’s not an easy thing to go through the ups and downs of life in the public eye, and as Phillippe recently reflected on it, he recalled feeling unfairly depicted amidst it all. 

Perhaps some of the negativity associated with Ryan Phillippe in the public eye had to do with their 2002 Oscars moment, where the couple presented an award on stage, and once Reese Witherspoon asked him to read the winner he said “You make more than I do. Go ahead.” Additionally, when the pair decided to split in 2006, it was rumored that Phillippe had been unfaithful to his wife. When speaking to being married to Witherspoon as celebrities, Phillippe said this: 

People were always trying to pit us against each other, and any time there were rumblings that we were going through a rough patch, they would make it seem like it was because I was jealous. Man, I am so pro-woman. I have three sisters, I was raised by women, so I never felt that way. But that’s the way people wanted to paint me. And that was unfortunate at times, but if people project a broad-brushstrokes image onto you, what can you do about it?

During an interview with The Guardian, Ryan Phillippe shared that he felt like his character was often questioned in the public eye, especially when it came to Witherspoon becoming more famous than him. The actor added that he was always fine with their statuses in Hollywood, but it was painted like he found something wrong with it all. Phillippe also said this: 

We did a good job as co-parents, and I knew that we would even back when we were very young. We met at her 21st birthday party, and then she was with child, but – knowing how volatile Hollywood relationships can be – I knew that even if we didn’t make it, she would be a great person to raise kids with. I’ve never said a bad word about her or our past, and I never would. I respect and admire her, and we made some pretty great and beautiful kids.

While it couldn’t have been easy for the pair to split up after having their two children, Ava and Deacon, Phillippe shared that he’s felt solid about being a co-parent with Reese Witherspoon over the years. Their daughter is 23 years old and their son is 19, with the couple previously celebrating a birthday together with him the year prior. Deacon has even recently followed in his parents footsteps and gotten into acting recently. 

Ryan Phillippe was riding a major wave of movie stardom in the ‘90s and ‘00s with projects like Gosford Park, Crash and I Know What You Did Last Summer. These days, he’s mainly a television actor, recently being among the cast of MacGruber, a spinoff of the popular SNL skit, which is streaming with a Peacock subscription

In the past, Phillippe has said that he doesn’t make the same movies anymore because the movie industry has changed so much, namely with a focus on superhero films. At 48, Phillippe is still a heartthrob, posting thirst traps and such. The actor has numerous movies on the way, including a horror-comedy called Saint Clare and a thriller titled The Locksmith. He’s certainly carved out his own space in Hollywood despite being the subject of tabloid reporting in the past. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.