Reese Witherspoon recently reflected on a past public mishap with her ex-husband that left her feeling “flummoxed.”
In 2002, the “Big Little Lies” star and ex-husband Ryan Phillippe were presenting the Academy Award for Best Make Up when Witherspoon asked her husband to announce the winner. Phillippe responded, “You make more than I do. Go ahead.”
Witherspoon divorced Phillippe in 2008 after 9 years of marriage.
"I forgot that ever happened, but you're right, he did say that, and no, it wasn't scripted, and he didn't tell me he was going to say that before it happened on air," Witherspoon told journalist Margaret Gardiner. "I was a little bit flummoxed in the moment. ... I don't know why he said it."
Witherspoon, 44, took the opportunity to discuss the challenges successful women face.
"Is it hard on women? 100%," she said. "I think this is the thing, too. There's so few women that make a lot of money that sometimes they're shamed for it, and sometimes they are expected to give more and do more and be more to others. In the same position ... a male movie star would not be expected to, and that's just the double standard that exists in our society."
She continued, "I do think gender norms have changed quite a bit since that moment (at the Oscars)," Witherspoon continued. "I do think there are more women making money. I think there's more conversation around the division of domestic labor. ... But I think it all gets back to the point that we need to talk. Women need to talk about money and how they make money and not feel ashamed of it."
Witherspoon and Phillippe share a daughter, Ava, now 21.
"I remember my daughter when she was probably 8 came home from second grade and was crying and said, 'Mom, they said you're one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood, and I felt so embarrassed!' And I said, 'Come over here,'" Witherspoon chuckled.
"I said, 'Don't ever feel ashamed. Don't ever feel ashamed of a woman making money. There are women all over this world who don't have an opportunity or an education or the ability to make money, and the more women who make more money will give more money away, will take care of their societies, will take care of their communities, will do more with that money, so don't ever feel bad about your mom making money and don't ever feel bad if you make money, and don't be embarrassed or ashamed if it's more than your partner.'"