Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon (born March 22, 1976), better known as Reese Witherspoon, is an American actress and film producer. Witherspoon landed her first feature role as the female lead in the film The Man in the Moon in 1991; later that year she made her television acting debut, in the cable movie Wildflower. In 1996, Witherspoon appeared in Freeway and followed that appearance with roles in three major 1998 films: Overnight Delivery, Pleasantville and Twilight. The following year, Witherspoon appeared in the critically acclaimed Election, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination.

2001 marked her career's turning point with the breakout role as Elle Woods in the box office hit Legally Blonde, and in 2002 she starred in Sweet Home Alabama, which became her biggest commercial film success to date. 2003 saw her return as lead actress and executive producer of Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde. In 2005, Witherspoon received worldwide attention and praise for her portrayal of June Carter Cash in Walk the Line, which earned her an Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

Witherspoon married actor and Cruel Intentions co-star Ryan Phillippe in 1999; they have two children, Ava and Deacon. The couple separated at the end of 2006 and divorced in October 2007. Witherspoon married her second husband, talent agent Jim Toth, in 2011. Witherspoon owns a production company, Type A Films, and she is actively involved in children's and women's advocacy organizations. She serves on the board of the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) and was named Global Ambassador of Avon Products in 2007, serving as honorary chair of the charitable Avon Foundation. On December 1, 2010, Witherspoon received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

On a whim in 1991, Witherspoon answered a call for extras in her hometown newspaper. She wound up with the lead in her first feature film, The Man in the Moon. She was 14 years old. Her first year out of high school, Witherspoon considered abandoning acting altogether to follow her parents into medicine. But in 1996, her performance in Freeway earned her the Catalonian International Film Festival award for best actress. She deferred college for a year to focus on acting, then studied English literature at Stanford University briefly before deciding to return to work. She quickly established herself as a talented actress in films such as Pleasantville (1998), Election (1999) and Cruel Intentions (1999). While filming Cruel Intentions, Witherspoon began exploring an off-set romance with co-star Ryan Phillippe, whom she had met previously at her 21st birthday party. The couple married in 1999, and welcomed two children soon after: daughter Ava Elizabeth (born 1999) and son Deacon (born 2003).
Legally Blonde

In 2001, Witherspoon continued to soar when she starred in the surprise box-office hit Legally Blonde. Witherspoon played Elle Woods, a tow-headed sorority girl who follows her ex to Harvard Law School. The movie proved to be such a success that it spawned a sequel. Witherspoon starred in, and produced, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003) earning $15 million - 15 times the amount she was paid for the original. The franchise quickly established Witherspoon as a must-have commodity, and propelled her to the realm of A-List actors. She also became one of the most highly paid actresses in Hollywood, according to the Hollywood Reporter, regularly commanding $15 to $20 million a movie.

Witherspoon further proved her acting mettle in 2005, when she appeared as country singer June Carter to Joaquin Phoenix's Johnny Cash in the biopic Walk the Line. The film proved to be both a critical and commercial success, and Witherspoon won an Academy Award, Golden Globe and a BAFTA for her singing and acting in the film. But while Witherspoon was experiencing professional success, she was experiencing serious challenges in her personal life. Reese and her husband, actor Ryan Phillippe announced their separation in October 2006, and divorced in October 2007. Phillippe immediately went public about his emotions surrounding their split. "After the divorce, I was a physical wreck. I wanted to die," Phillippe told the British magazine Man About Town in November 2007. "I was ready to kill myself. I was not taking care of myself at all. I would wake up and cry and vomit."

Witherspoon focused on her work, and in 2007 she began working on the film Rendition, also starring Jake Gyllenhaal. The stars began dating shortly afterward, but their romance didn't last long; the Hollywood "It" couple split in 2009. Witherspoon began dating Hollywood agent Jim Toth shortly after. During this time, Witherspoon also co-starred in the fantastical comedy Penelope (2008) with Christina Ricci, and served as a producer on the project. Later that same year, Witherspoon starred with Vince Vaughn in the family holiday comedy Four Christmases. A busy actress, Witherspoon continues to work on several big-name film projects, including a starring role in the 2011 film Water for Elephants, alongside Robert Pattinson.