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Reese and Ryan ... Victims of Hollywood or of Circumstance?

by Stephanie Michele (writer), Venice, October 31, 2006


Yesterday the publicist of Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe announced the couple’s separation. Witherspoon, 30, and Phillippe, 32, have two children, 7-year-old Ava and 3-year-old Deacon. Without knowing much about either one of them personally, on the surface this looked like a relationship that had a chance.

Reese and Ryan could not have been a more attractive couple and they seemed to have figured out how to balance their careers with their home life. When Reese was working, Ryan was not, they alternated taking projects so they could be there to support each other. Reese said, "Marriage and family come before everything. You don't want to make a movie at the cost of your relationship." (Us Weekly, September 6, 2004) Ryan followed in suit by saying, “Things like my baby and my wife are a lot more important to me than being in one of the top ten grossing movies of all time.”( There has been numerous published quotes and photos reflecting the love they had for each other, so what exactly did them in?

Was it the infamous seven year itch? Married in 1999, it is now rumored that Ryan had an affair with a 24-year-old Australian actress named Abbie Cornish. The affair supposedly took place in Austin, Texas where the two were shooting the new film “Stop Loss.” It has been reported the couple was spotted making out in a sushi restaurant and she was spotted many times leaving his loft apartment. Abbie’s rep denies the affair and both Reese and Ryan’s people have no comment regarding the rumor.

Was it the curse of Hollywood? Living your life in the public eye has never been easy for relationships especially when one person in the relationship is enjoying more success than the other. Just days after Reese’s big Oscar win in March, tabloids were reporting their marriage was in crisis. Ironically, five out of the last eight best-actress Oscar winners split from their partners shortly after their big win. This list includes Hilary Swank, Halle Berry and Julia Roberts.

Was it just another example of our culture’s inability to commit? They had the willingness to work on their marriage and even admitted receiving marriage counseling. Reese told Access Hollywood in 2002, “I don’t think there should be a social stigma attached to having therapy, its self improvement.” Also that year Ryan said, “The biggest mistake is not doing that, ignoring it and having the marriage fall apart because of laziness."( Are we to believe Reese doesn’t want to improve anymore and Ryan wants to be lazy now?

I know it is none of my business what really happened between Reese and Ryan, I can only pray for them and their family. My interest in their relationship comes from hoping some day a Hollywood couple like Reese and Ryan will take “Relationship Preservation” on as their celebrity cause. Instead of going public with a breakup wouldn’t it be amazing to see a couple agree to go public with their therapy sessions? Reality TV allows us to see every other aspect of life, why not this? We might actually see something we could use in our own lives. There are extraordinary couple therapists out there, my favorite being Harville Hendrix. His marriage is a living model of the work that is required and the rewards that are received through long term commitment. He lives and works with his wife. The reflection of love these two have for each other is truly inspiring. I couldn’t imagine a better scenario than to see Harville and his wife Helen, help out a couple in crisis. Personally, I am getting bored with Hollywood breakup stories but I would certainly tune in for a "let's makeup and stay together" story.

About the Writer

Stephanie Michele is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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1 comments on Reese and Ryan ... Victims of Hollywood or of Circumstance?

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By Eddy E on November 01, 2006 at 05:14 pm
This is tragic because I desperately want these couples to "make it". I think most cultures would probably look down on Americans' obsession with therapy, but the reality is that when it works, it works!
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