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Reese Witherspoon Opened Up About How The Media Portrayed Her As "Good" And Britney Spears As "Bad" Despite Similarities In Their Personal Lives

"What if the media had decided I was something else? I would be in a totally different position."

Posted on April 29, 2021, at 8:14 a.m. ET

Reese Witherspoon opened up about the different ways the media compared her with the likes of Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and Lindsay Lohan in the 2000s, noting how she was often deemed "good" while other women were deemed "bad."

ABC / Getty Images, Christopher Polk / FilmMagic

A recent interview published by Time described how Witherspoon had been "pulled like so many viewers to the narrative of exploitation" following the release of the New York Times documentary, Framing Britney Spears.

Hulu

And, as a result of the exploitation that became a widespread talking point on social media, Witherspoon drew her own comparisons with how she'd been portrayed in the media, revealing that it was completely different.

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Both Britney Spears and Reese Witherspoon got divorced in 2008 and went on to raise two kids while experiencing intense, relentless paparazzi intrusion.

Jewel Samad / Getty Images

Witherspoon revealed how she'd been followed to church, school, and soccer practice, adding that, at one point, there was a vehicle parked outside her home pointing cameras into her kitchen window.

She said: "My children will tell you stories about being in preschool and people climbing on the roofs of our cars."

But, despite Witherspoon recalling how she'd previously been filmed screaming at cameras, she explained that those incidents had "never stuck to her reputation" because of the way the media chose to portray her.

Jason Merritt / Getty Images

It's possible that the Legally Blonde actor might've been referencing her 2013 arrest for disorderly conduct while trying to defend her husband, which became headline news when footage of Witherspoon confronting police officers was made public.

In a statement at the time, Witherspoon said: "I clearly had one drink too many and I am deeply embarrassed about the things I said." And, in an interview with Jameela Jamil last year, Witherspoon called the moment "so embarrassing and dumb."

However, her reputation as "the sunny America's Sweetheart" seemingly wasn't affected. In fact, at the time, a Washington Post article published the year after her arrest boldly stated that it had not only "saved her career," but "propelled her to a more endearing image as she embarked on a grittier phase of her career."

In the interview with Time, Witherspoon acknowledged that her reputation might look completely different today had the media decided she was "something else" and switched the way they wrote about her.

"What if the media had decided I was something else? I would be in a totally different position," she said. "I want to say it's my decisions or the career choices I made, but it felt very arbitrary. And kind of shitty."

You can read the full Time interview here.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.

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