Reese Witherspoon has admitted she ‘didn’t understand what homosexuality was’ until she moved to Los Angeles because she wasn’t taught about it growing up.
The actress made the revelation during a virtual interview with Watchmen star Regina King as part of Variety’s Actors on Actors series.
Reese was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1976 and raised in Nashville, Tennessee before moving to LA in the early stages of her career. Speaking from her home in California about her latest TV show Little Fires Everywhere, based on Celeste Ng’s hit 2017 novel, Reese told Regina, “No one spoke to me about sexuality when I was a teenager. I didn’t understand what homosexuality was. My grandparents didn’t explain it, my parents didn’t explain it. I had to learn from somebody I met on an audition in Los Angeles.”
She referenced the moment her Little Fires Everywhere character Elena – matriarch of the seemingly-perfect Richardson family – discusses homosexuality in the show, explaining that she incorporated snippets of a conversation she once had about the topic into the script.
She recalled the time her grandmother described sexuality as ‘very rare’ and ‘not a thing that happens very often’ in the Nineties.
‘We incorporated some of the conversation I had with my grandmother afterward,’ Reese said.
‘She said, “Homosexuality is very rare, Reese. That’s not a thing that happens very often.” And we put it in the script.’