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Reese Witherspoon says media treated her and Britney Spears differently: 'It felt very arbitrary'

Marcus Jones
·2 min read
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Reese Witherspoon is reflecting on why her life in the spotlight differed so greatly from the intense media scrutiny faced by Britney Spears.

In a cover story for TIME, the Oscar winner revealed how she reclaimed her power as a producer and entertainer through her company Hello Sunshine. The discussion also led her to look back on her experience in the public eye, leading her to recognize the similar invasion of privacy she and the pop star faced as part of an exploitive system.

"My children will tell you stories about being in preschool and people climbing on the roofs of our cars," she recalls. Witherspoon got divorced from Ryan Phillippe in 2008, around the same time Spears split from Kevin Federline, both women had two young kids at the time, and paparazzi relentlessly chased both wherever they went, to the point of camping out in front of their houses.

Matt Petit/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images; Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic Reese Witherspoon talked to 'TIME' about how she was painted as 'good' in tabloids, while Britney Spears was painted as 'bad,' and the ramifications of that.

The actress and producer went to explain how watching Framing Britney Spears made her feel like one of the lucky ones because she and stars like Jennifer Garner were considered "good," while Spears and Lindsay Lohan were branded "bad." Thinking about how her screaming back in retaliation at all the cameras following her never really affected her reputation, she asks "What if the media had decided I was something else? I would be in a totally different position."

Driving home how the differences between her and Spears were projected onto them, Witherspoon adds, "I want to say it's my decisions or the career choices I made, but it felt very arbitrary. And kind of sh-tty."

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