Ryan Phillippe Recalls How He And Justin Timberlake Used To Get Mistaken For One Another And How Then-Wife Reese Witherspoon Defended Him

Reese Witherspoon on The Morning Show and Ryan Phillippe on Saturday Night Live.
(Image credit: Apple TV+/NBC)

Actor Ryan Phillippe has been in the public eye for decades, with fans invested in both his performances in movies and personal life. The latter was especially true when he was still together with Reese Witherspoon, as they were a serious ‘90s power couple (although he admits they were sometimes pitted against each other). Phillippe recently recalled how he and Justin Timberlake used to get mistaken for on another, and how Witherspoon defended him at the time. Talk about clash of the handsome titans.

Ryan Phillippe and Reese Witherspoon met back in 1997, before eventually starring in Cruel Intentions. The two married in 1999, and had three children together before their separation back in 2006. And during their relationship it sounds like lots of folks were comparing him to ’NSYNC singer Justin Timberlake. He told The Guardian about one time where he flew to Costa Rica to get out of the public eye, before being asked if he was, in fact, Timberlake. When asked if it bothered him being compared to look-alikes such as JT and Hayden Christensen, he responded by sharing:

Not really. Although there’s a great clip from Jay Leno’s Tonight Show [in 2001] when Reese was on and so were NSYNC, and Justin talks about how he’s often mistaken for me. Then Reese says something like, ‘Well, I think Ryan’s much better looking,’ Insert quote here

That’s the type of support one might expect from a spouse. Because while even Jay Leno tried to compare Ryan Phillippe to Justin Timberlake, Reese Witherspoon found a delightful way to defend her then-husband. In fact, all of the celebrities involved in this faux love triangle have aged amazingly, and are still at the top of their game. 

Ryan Phillippe’s story to The Guardian comes as he’s promoting his new indie film Summit Fever, which is about mountain climbers in Chamonix, France. Eventually the conversation turned to his many years as a public figure, and how his career has changed throughout the years. A lot has happened since he and Reese Witherspoon were the an iconic ‘90s celebrity  couple. Although they’ve continued to stay in touch and are co-parenting their kids.

During that same interview, Ryan Phillippe explained some of the struggles that he’s faced in his career in the recent years. While he’s kept busy in TV and movie projects, they’ve not all been successful. As the 48 year-old I Know What You Did Last Summer actor shared:

You go into any project with the hope that it will be good, and maybe a few of the films I’ve done have turned out pretty crappy.

As they say, that’s show business. Still, Ryan Phillippe has kept busy. As for his ex-wife Reese Witherspoon, she’s become a powerful TV/film producer, on top of her acting career. We’ll just have to see if the former couple ever ends up working together in the future. We’ve seen other former couples make that work, like David Arquette and Courteney Cox in the Scream franchise.

Aside from Summit Fever, Ryan Phillippe has more movies coming down the line titled American Murderer, and The Locksmith. In the meantime, check out the 2022 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.