Money can be a tricky subject in any relationship, but when one person makes a big deal about how much the other person earns, it can often become a deal breaker.
In an appearance on The HFPA in Conversation podcast (via E! News), Reese Witherspoon was asked to reflect on a moment from the 2002 Academy Awards by journalist and host Margaret Gardiner. While presenting an award onstage with her then husband, Ryan Phillippe, Witherspoon asked him if she could announce the winner. Handing her the envelope, Phillippe quipped, "You make more than I do, go ahead."
Witherspoon looked visibly shocked by Phillippe's comment.
"You're reminding me of that!" the Legally Blonde icon revealed on the podcast. "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. So I was a little bit flummoxed in the moment, too."
As for why Phillippe might have made the remark, Witherspoon answered, "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 that, say, a male movie star would not be expected to." She continued, "But I do think gender norms have changed quite a bit since that moment in 2000 or something."
Witherspoon and Phillippe announced their breakup in October 2006, having wed in June 1999. They share two children—21-year-old Ava and 17-year-old Deacon Phillippe.
As for why Witherspoon's ex decided to joke about his wife outearning him while taking center stage at such a high-profile event, we may never know.
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