Reese Witherspoon Opens Up About Leaving A Verbally Abusive Relationship

"It changed who I was on a cellular level."

As part of her inspirational series Super Soul Sunday, Oprah Winfrey interviewed her Wrinkle in Time co-star Reese Witherspoon last weekend. Witherspoon, who has championed the #TimesUp movement, opened up about the challenges of overcoming abusive relationships.

"What's the most difficult decision you've had to make to fulfill your destiny?" Winfrey asked.  


"For me, probably leaving an abusive relationship," Witherspoon replied. She revealed that she endured both psychological and verbal abuse from a partner when she was younger. Thankfully, Witherspoon realized she had to end the relationship and left. "I drew a line in the sand, and it got crossed, and my brain just switched," she explained. "I couldn't go any further. I was young — really young — and it was profound."

"It changed who I was on a cellular level, the fact that I stood up for myself," she continued. Witherspoon went on to explain that leaving an abusive relationship is never easy and it's often filled with moments of self-doubt "particularly if someone damages your self-esteem." 

But once she did, it became a formative and empowering moment that changed the course of her life. 

"People say to me that knew me then, 'You're a completely different person,'" Witherspoon said. "I didn't have self-esteem. I'm a different person now and it's part of why I can stand up and say, 'yes, I'm ambitious' — because someone tried to take that from me before."

Witherspoon revealed that it was her own experiences and the familiar stories of abuse she heard from other women that motivated her to produce and star in Big Little Lies. The show, for those unaware, addresses domestic and sexual abuse.

It isn't always easy for survivors to open up about their experiences, but the more they do, the more people will realize there is hope on the other side. 

You can watch the interview in the video above. 

If you or anyone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or visit

Cover image via Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock


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