Two years ago, Reese Witherspoon revealed that she had been sexually assaulted by a director when she was 16, and she admits she feels guilty for not coming forward about it sooner.
In a joint interview with her “Morning Show” co-star Jennifer Aniston, the 43-year-old Oscar winner opened up to The Guardian, stating that she felt “guilt for not speaking up earlier.”
In 2017, Witherspoon broke her silence at the Elle Women in Hollywood event, explaining that her agents and producers instructed her to keep her mouth shut or risk losing out on acting roles. “I wish I could tell you that was an isolated incident in my career but, sadly, it wasn’t,” she said at the time. “I’ve had multiple experiences of harassment and sexual assault.”
“When stories [about assault and harassment] come out, I sometimes get really upset and it runs the gamut from sad to heartbroken to extreme anger,” she tells The Guardian. “I think it probably drives me to tell more stories about it because art is the best antidote.”
Her past experiences, she says, have made her “determined not to let this happen to other young women. I’m so grateful to the women who spoke out about things in their past because I’m in a different position, obviously, but those women had nothing to gain, and some lost their jobs over it. They are the real heroes in my mind.”
When asked if she now wishes she had spoken up earlier, she responds, “Ummm no. It was a culture of silence and silence was a condition of my employment. That’s what I was told.”