Not here for it. Reese Witherspoon reacted to Ryan Phillippe’s money comment from the 2002 Oscars, and she wasn’t a fan of her ex-husband’s passive aggressive remark about her making more than him.
For those who don’t remember, Witherspoon and Phillippe—who were married from 1999 to 2007—presented the award for Best Makeup at the 74th Academy Awards in 2002. After announcing the nominees, Witherspoon turned to Phillippe and asked if she could read the winner, to which her then-husband said, “You make more than I do. Go ahead.”
Witherspoon was asked about the moment on the Friday, December 25, episode of the “HFPA In Conversation” podcast, where she recalled how “flummoxed” she felt about Phillippe’s comment about her wealth. “I forgot that ever happened,” she said. “He did say that, and no, it wasn’t scripted. He didn’t tell me he was going to say that before it happened on air. So, I was a little bit flummoxed in the moment.”
The Legally Blonde star went on to say that the “few women: in Hollywood who “make a lot of money” are often “shamed for it.” “Sometimes they are expected to give more and do more and be more to others in the same position that maybe a male movie star may not be expected,” she said. That said, Witherspoon did acknowledge that “gender norms have changed quite a bit” since her then-husband’s comment at the 2002 Oscars.
The Big Little Lies star went on to share a story about how her and Phillippe’s daughter, Ava, now 21, was “embarrassed” in the second grade when a classmate told her that her mom was one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood.
“I said, ‘Don’t ever feel ashamed of a woman making money,'” Witherspoon recalled telling Ava. “There are women all over this world who don’t have an opportunity or an education or the ability to make money…The more women who make more money will give more money away, will take care of their societies, will take care of their communities, will do more with that money.”
She continued, “So don’t ever feel bad about your mom making money, and don’t ever feel bad if you make money, and don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed if it’s more than your partner.”
Along with Ava, Phillippe and Witherspoon also share 17-year-old son Deacon. Following her divorce from Phillippe, Witherspoon married talent agent Jim Toth in 2011. The two have one son, Tennesse, now 8. Phillippe, for his part, is also the father of 9-year-old daughter Kai with his ex-girlfriend Alexis Knapp.