Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon was born on 22 March 1976 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her father was a military surgeon and her mother was a nurse.
Reese spent the first four years of her life in Germany, before the family returned to the US and settle in Nashville, Tennessee.
From a young age, Reese loved cinema and knew she wanted to become an actress. At the age of seven she began modelling, before making appearances in various television adverts.
It was during a huge casting that she was noticed and landed a role in Robert Mulligan’s “The Man in the Moon” (1991), where she played the role of a tomboy. Her performance received excellent reviews and she went on to make appearances in films such as “Jack the Bear” (1993) and “A Far Off Place” (1993).
In 1994, she decided to leave acting and enrolled at Stanford University to study English Literature. Two years later, she discontinued her studies and landed starring roles in the big budget films “Fear” (1996), where she starred alongside Mark Wahlberg and “Freeway”(1996), with Kiefer Sutherland. Neither film was a real box office success, but they opened doors to bigger Hollywood successes, including “Pleasantville” (1998) and “Cruel Intentions” (1999).
Her major breakthrough came in 2001, when she starred as trainee lawyer “Elle Brooks” in the smash hit film “Legally Blond”. The following year she starred in the film “Sweet Home Alabama”, before going on to star in the sequel to “Legally Blond”, “Legally Blond 2: Red, White and Blond”. The sequel was not as successful as the first film, with most of the reviews being very critical of content, but not of Reese’s performance.
In 2005, Reese Witherspoon landed one of the best roles of her career to date as June Carter Cash in the film “Walk the Line”, a biographical film of the life of the great singer, Johnny Cash. Her moving and faultless performance earned her an Oscar for “Best Actress”.
She went on to star in the war time drama “Rendition”(2007), alongside Jake Gyllenhaal and starred alongside Vince Vaughn in the romantic comedy “Four Christmases” (2008).
In 2009, she provided the voice for Susan Murphy in the computer animated film “Monsters vs Aliens”.
In 2010, she took on a love triangle trilogy, starring in the films “How Do You Know” (2010), “Water For Elephants” (2011), where she played the role of a circus performer, a role which she had to train with a circus school and to complete the triangle “This Means War”, due to be released next month.
Moving away from romantic comedies, Reese Witherspoon is also starring alongside Colin Firth in the film “Devil’s Knot”, an adaptation of Mara Leveritt’s book, about three children who were tortured and murdered by teenagers involved in a satanic cult in Arkansas in 1993.
In 2013 we will see Reese Witherspoon starring in the thriller “Mud”, alongside the lovely Matthew McConaughey, “Big Eyes”, a film about the painter Margaret Keane and “Wish List”.
In her private life, Witherspoon married the gorgeous Ryan Philippe in 1999, after they met at a party, and subsequently starred in “Cruel Intentions”.
They have two children, a daughter Ava Elizabeth, born in September 1999 and a son, Deacon, born in October 2003. The couple divorced in June 2008. Reese married Talent Agent Jim Toth in March 2011.
As well as her Oscar award, Reese Witherspoon has also been cemented into Hollywood history, when she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in December 2010.
She is also involved in charity work, as a long-time supporter of Save The Children and The Children’s Defence Fund. She also visited New Orleans after the hurricane to highlight the plight of the residents of the stricken town.
Reese Witherspoon is one of the most endearing actresses of her generation. She has proven herself to be a very versatile actress and has earned her place in Hollywood history.