FAMILY & PARENTING

Reese Witherspoon Says Filling Out Daughter’s College Applications Was An ‘Arrow In The Heart’

by Sarah Bregel
Sarah Bregel is an editor at LittleThings.com covering entertainment, trending stories, adorable stuff, parenting, and more. She is also a freelance writer, mom of two, dog mom, feminist, and deep-breather.

Actress and mom Reese Witherspoon is opening up about what it felt like to help her daughter Ava fill out her college applications.

In a recent interview with Emmy magazine, Reese talked about her new role in the show Little Fires Everywhere, which was adapted from a novel by author Celeste Ng. It seems the role brought her right back to feelings she had felt in her own life and helped her to articulate them.

She recalled the difficult emotions that come from watching your kids grow up, saying, “It’s so difficult to articulate what motherhood means and there are so many passages in the novel that did.”

She continued, “[One passage was about] training yourself to live on the smell of an apple alone, when what you really wanted was to devour it, to sink your teeth into it and consume it, seeds, core and all. It’s such a vivid way to describe the loss of your children as they grow up. My daughter was applying for college back then, so it hit me like an arrow in the heart.”

Ava now goes to Stanford, which is Reese’s alma mater.

Reese is one of those actresses who can do no wrong. She’s been in so many incredible films, from the LOL-worthy like Legally Blonde to her more serious roles like June Carter in Walk the Line, which earned her an Academy Award. But in recent years, we’ve also heard a lot about Reese in terms of her most important role — her role as a parent.

Reese is the mother of three beautiful kids. First, she had Ava and Deacon, whom she shares with ex-husband Ryan Phillippe. Then she became a mom again to her youngest son, Tennessee James, whose father is Reese’s now-husband, Jim Toth.

They really seem like an incredibly happy family, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t tough moments. Watching your child prepare to leave the nest and head off to college is definitely one of those moments, as Reese recently shared. It seems that her role in Little Fires Everywhere reminded her of those intense feelings.

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A behind the scenes look ✨

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In the new hit show, Reese plays a tightly wound mother. She said not only did the role remind her of feelings she had as a parent herself, but it also reminded her of her own mother. She said that whether it was intentional or not, she was playing her mother, Betty.

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At least we have dogs!❤️🐶

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She said she definitely felt like it reminded her of things she went through with her own mom, which isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it probably helped her to understand the role better, too. “I don’t know why it never occurred to us until we were almost into production. I was like, ‘I’m playing [my mother] Betty!'” she said.

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Cuddle puddle! 🥰 #louthebulldog

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Reese is definitely an empathetic person who puts everything into the roles she plays. She seems to really be able to relate to her characters, and it always produces incredible results. Likewise, Reese somehow manages to relate to all of us, too, especially when it comes to parenting.

Last year, she shared about the moment her daughter really did leave for college on Ellen. She talked about crying in her empty room and feeling all of those emotions that regular parents know so well. We’ve also seen Reese open up about the silly parts of parenting, too.

Recently, she shared a video where she’s asking her son how to use the TikTok app. It’s such a funny, relatable video. As parents, we’re all really just trying to keep up with whatever our kids have going on. When it comes to new technology, we can be a bit slow.

It’s really a rare celebrity who can manage to be so talented and also so relatable. Reese seems to have no trouble doing both. Her fans definitely love to hear her open up about her parenting struggles, though. It helps us feel a bit more like we’re all in it together.

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Lunch with my girl 🥰

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Regardless of the fact that her oldest child is in college, Reese and Ava seem to remain close. So it gives us hope that no matter where our kids go in life, they’ll always come home to us if we work hard to keep those bonds strong. Reese certainly is a shining example of just that.