Reese Witherspoon, a renowned American actress, is best known for her unforgettable performances in Legally Blonde, Walk the Line, and Wild. She’s also one of Hollywood’s highest-paid actresses. While her acting career didn’t get started until the 1990s, it wasn’t until her breakthrough role in 2001’s Legally Blonde that she became a household name. To date, she’s acted in over 60 movies and television series.
In recent years, she has shifted her focus towards production, establishing her own production company. Apart from her involvement in the entertainment industry, she is also a savvy entrepreneur. All of these ventures have contributed considerably to Reese Witherspoon’s net worth.
She also has a number of upcoming projects in the works, including 2025’s Tinker Bell and Legally Blond 3. And that’s just scratching the surface. IMDB Pro has over 40 projects in various stages of development, most of which see Witherspoon as a producer.
Read on to discover her most successful films and investment and trace her career from the beginning to the present day.
Reese Witherspoon was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on March 22, 1976. Her mother, Mary Elizabeth, holds a Ph.D. in nursing and used to teach nursing at Vanderbilt University. Her father, John Draper, finished medical school at Tulane University and worked as an otolaryngologist.
Witherspoon did very well in school and was often been called a multi-achiever. She attended Harding Academy and graduated high school from Harpeth Hall School. She later attended Stanford University and began taking up English literature. But Witherspoon would drop out so she could focus on her already blossoming acting career.
When Witherspoon was only seven years old, she found herself doing a TV ad for a florist, and this was what initially ignited her interest in acting. The first film role she landed was that of 1991’s The Man in the Moon. She had originally wanted to audition for a minor role. However, she made such a great impression at the auditions that they cast her to play the lead role of Dani Trant. For her performance, Witherspoon won a Young Artist Award nomination for Best Young Actress.
A series of significant roles in TV series and films followed, starting with Wildflower. In the following years, she appeared in more TV movies such as Desperate Choices: To Save My Child and Return to Lonesome Dove. During the late 1990s, Witherspoon moved to film acting, starring opposite Mark Wahlberg in Fear and opposite Brooke Shields in Freeway.
The Late 90s
The roles continued to get bigger, and Witherspoon began receiving more awards and critical praise for her performances. In 1998, she starred opposite Tobey Maguire in Pleasantville and won Best Female Breakthrough Performance at the Young Hollywood Awards. In 1999, she starred in Cruel Intentions alongside Sarah Michelle Gellar and future husband Ryan Philippe. She was also in Election that year, where she was once again selected as the Best Actress, this time by the National Society of Film Critics and the Online Film Critics Society.
One of the highest points in Witherspoon’s career was the 2001 film Legally Blonde where she played the lead role of Elle Woods. Her performance earned her a Golden Globe Best Actress Award. The film was such a huge commercial success that when Witherspoon reprised her role for the sequel in 2003, she received a salary of $15 million. Reese Witherspoon’s net worth was already rising by then, but the increased salaries from projects in the early 2000s saw her net worth growing even faster.
Witherspoon had several other critically acclaimed and commercially successful films during this period. Among the more notable ones was 2005’s Walk the Line, for which she won awards from the Oscars, the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild and the BAFTA. Other successful films were the widely praised Vanity Fair and Sweet Home Alabama opposite Patrick Dempsey and Josh Lucas, which earned $35 million on opening weekend.
In 2000, Witherspoon started a production company called Type A Films that aimed to work on projects with strong female leads. In 2012, the company took on the name Pacific Standard after merging with Bruna Papandrea’s Make Movies.
Through this company, Witherspoon produced the film Gone Girl in 2014. In the same year, she also produced and starred in Wild, which was based on the Cheryl Strayed memoir. Witherspoon earned an Academy Award nomination for her performance.
In 2016, Witherspoon founded a new media company, Hello Sunshine, along with Seth Rodsky. Pacific Standard has since become a subsidiary of this new media company. By this time, Witherspoon was already the majority owner of Pacific Standard, following the exit of Bruna Papandrea. They then started producing several successful TV shows, starting with the drama TV series Big Little Lies, which aired on HBO and won a total of eight Emmy Awards out of 16 nominations.
The success of her first television series spurred the creation of more women-led stories. The Apple TV+ drama series The Morning Show, where Witherspoon co-stars with Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell, won her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Television Series. Witherspoon was also nominated for the category of Best Actress – Televisions Series Drama.
In 2021, Witherspoon sold a majority stake in Hello Sunshine to a firm backed by the private-equity company, Blackstone Group Inc. for $900 million. The Blackstone Group is led by forever Disney executives, Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs.
In 2020, Witherspoon was busy producing and starring in Little Fires Everywhere, a drama miniseries on Hulu. She also served as the narrator for Fierce Queens, a nature documentary series featuring female animals in the wild. She most recently produced 2022’s Where the Crawdads Sing.
Witherspoon has no shortage of upcoming projects either. She has 15 upcoming projects listed from 2022 through 2025 where she’ll serve as a producer. She also has Legally Blonde 3 on the horizon as well, where she’ll return as Elle Woods. While there isn’t a release date for the project yet, the film is expected to release sometime during 2023 according to her IMDB.
In other ventures, Witherspoon had created her own Southern-inspired retail brand, Draper James. The brand, which she named after her her grandparents, Dorothea Draper and William James, focuses on fashion and home decor.
In 2007, Witherspoon signed a multi-year deal to serve as the first Global Ambassador for Avon. She would serve as a spokeswoman for the cosmetic company and was also a part of the honorary chair of the Avon Foundation, a charitable organization that is known for supporting breast cancer research.
While Witherspoon and her family have owned multiple properties in California and Tennessee, the star’s real estate profile is still continuing to grow. Records show that she has acquired at least four new homes in the first half of 2022, spending nearly $28 million. Three of those were in or near Nashville and the fourth was in Los Angeles. While some of those deals were made off the market. But we do know that one of those Nashville properties sits on nearly four acres and came with a price tag of $18 million.
After getting married to entertainment executive Jim Toth in 2011, Witherspoon filed for divorce in 2023. As of August 2023, their divorce was finalized, ending a relationship that first started in 2010. Together, they share a son, Tennessee, who was born in 2012.
Reese Witherspoon’s Previous Relationships
Early in her career, she had been romantically linked to Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Dorff, and Chris O’Donnell. In 1998, she would marry fellow actor Ryan Philippe, who was her co-star in Cruel Intentions. They have two children together – son Deacon and daughter Alexa – and they share joint custody. After getting divorced from Philippe, Witherspoon dated actor Jake Gyllenhaal for a few months.
Reese Witherspoon’s Net Worth Today
As of 2023, Reese Witherspoon’s net worth is estimated at a staggering $400 million according to Forbes! This amount makes her the world’s wealthiest actress. And when you factor in all of her other ventures like her retail brand, endorsements, and the sale of her media company, the number isn’t that surprising.
Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine is working on a new adaptation of Goldilocks and the Three Bears with Build-A-Bear Entertainment. The two companies are partnering up for a new take on the children’s classic story, which will see the title character as an empowering female protagonist. The project will be the first movie for Hello Sunshine’s Kid and Animation Division.
IMDB Pro shows Witherspoon has 41 projects in various stages of development. She has a film treatment in the works with director and writer Nicholas Stoller, where she’ll co-star with Will Ferrell. She’ll also appear in Unfollow, which will tell the story of a member of the Westboro Baptist Church who begins to question her involvement with the organization. And she’ll also appear in, and produce, the upcoming live action Tinker Bell for Disney. The film is scheduled for release in 2025.
With so many projects on the horizon, Witherspoon’s net worth will only continue to grow. And fans can’t wait to see what she does next!