Witherspoon said she was lucky to be considered one of the "good" girls in Hollywood.

Morgan Noll
Apr 28, 2021 @ 12:55 pm
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Credit: Matt Petit/A.M.P.A.S., Getty Images

The Framing Britney Spears documentary has caused a widespread reassessment of the way women in Hollywood were treated by the media in the early 2000s. Following the documentary's release, people on the internet resurfaced several sexist interviews from that time, Justin Timberlake issued an apology to the pop star nearly 20 years too late, and celebs like Drew Barrymore recalled their own experiences of facing public scrutiny. In a recent interview with Time, Reese Witherspoon also shared her thoughts on the documentary, reflecting on her time in the spotlight as a young woman at the turn of the century.

Witherspoon, 45, can relate to some of the experiences that Britney Spears, 39, had in the early 2000s. Both stars got divorced in the same year and had to deal with raising kids amidst constant and invasive paparazzi attention. "My children will tell you stories about being in preschool and people climbing on the roofs of our cars," she said.

Despite these similar experiences, however, Witherspoon acknowledges that she was given a more favorable review in the public eye. While women like herself and her friend Jennifer Garner were considered "good" girls, women like Spears, Paris Hilton, and Lindsay Lohan were often considered "bad" and were treated as such by the media. Though Witherspoon recalled times she was filmed screaming at cameras, those kinds of instances weren't used to tarnish her reputation as they would have been for other women.

"What if the media had decided I was something else? I would be in a totally different position," she says. "I want to say it's my decisions or the career choices I made, but it felt very arbitrary. And kind of shitty."

This is far from the first time that Witherspoon has opened up about the conditions for women in Hollywood. In the interview, the actress also reflected on her involvement with the #MeToo movement in 2017. She was a central part in pushing the movement forward, publicly sharing her own experience of being sexually assaulted by a director when she was 16 years old.

Witherspoon told Time that she was in a dark place by the end of that year, experiencing anxiety, struggling to sleep, and having a difficult time confronting old painful memories. However, the thing that got her through, she said, was having a group of women, including Rashida Jones, Kerry Washington, and Shonda Rhimes, by her side.

"Whenever I feel discouraged, I have a group of women," she said, "We all text each other, and we're like: Just keep going."