The Truth About Reese Witherspoon's Son, Deacon Reese Phillippe

Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe became one of the defining couples of the late '90s thanks to both their on-screen relationship in the teen classic "Cruel Intentions" and their relationship in real life. And while their story didn't have an entirely happy ending — they split after seven years of marriage in 2007 — they did welcome two children into the world.

And their genes are clearly super strong. Just like older sister Ava Phillippe, Deacon Reese Phillippe is instantly recognizable as the A-listers' offspring. But unlike his sibling, a doppelganger for the "Legally Blonde" actor, the aspiring musician somehow resembles both mom and dad.

Of course, there's more to Deacon than his photogenic appearance and Hollywood star parents, even if the 'nepo baby' label will no doubt follow him around for the rest of his life. From Deacon's college beginnings and famous friends to his love life and fashion sense, here's a look at the real Deacon Phillippe.

Deacon Phillippe is an NYU student

Ryan Phillippe and Reese Witherspoon certainly seemed to have raised two smart cookies. Oldest child Ava Phillippe was accepted to the University of California, Berkeley in 2019, while three years later, their youngest Deacon Phillippe headed for New York University.

The latter, who graduated from Los Angeles' Mountain High School, gave his Instagram followers a sneak peek into NYU life shortly after arriving with several pics of his dorm room. A Johnny Cash poster, some pink LED lights, and a basketball jersey emblazoned with the name of the Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid were just a few of the home comforts that could be seen in the snaps.

A year later, Reese told People how delighted she was that both of her kids were living up to their potential: "It means you did your job right. And I'm so proud of my kids. They're thriving in the world and I'm so happy for them." It was a sentiment echoed by father Ryan, who in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, also declared how excited he was to hear his son's musical talents flourish. 

Deacon Phillippe has the swankiest college apartment


@Deacon Location: West village Occuaption: student

♬ original sound – CALEB SIMPSON

After spending his first year at New York University on campus, Deacon Phillippe then moved into his own apartment in the city's West Village. And as you'd expect from the son of two Hollywood A-listers, Deacon's living quarters were more lavish than any other student's abode.

After being greeted by TikToker Caleb Simpson on the street in 2023, the accommodating Phillippe gave the social media star an exclusive tour around his new two-story place complete with a spiral staircase. The model showed off his wall of vinyl records and beloved plant nicknamed Daryl before offering a glimpse of his bedroom, which he also uses as a studio.

"I sing and play a little bit of keyboard but I mostly make music on my computer," Phillippe said in the TikTok video before he was asked how much the rent costs. Unsurprisingly, the budding recording artist didn't specify an amount, instead replying, "West Village prices." Of course, with most people his age struggling to pay for even the tiniest of box rooms, Phillippe's display of privilege didn't go down too well, with many followers accusing him of being a trust fund baby who failed to mention that he has wealthy A-list parents. 

Mindy Kaling gave Deacon Phillippe his big acting break

Deacon Phillippe isn't going to be able to fend off those 'nepo baby' accusations any time soon. While most aspiring actors his age spend years toiling away on the audition circuit while simultaneously holding down dead-end jobs, the son of Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe was able to walk right into a cushy Netflix series without any prior experience.

In the summer of 2022, Phillippe joined the third season cast of "Never Have I Ever" as Parker, a member of the debate team pitted against leading lady Maitreyi Ramakrishnan. The show's creator Mindy Kaling was inspired to give the youngster a chance after a little chat with his mom.

Kaling told Entertainment Tonight, "Reese had told me that he was interested in performing ... and I only had this role that seemed really good for him. He's so super talented, obviously really handsome, but here's this kid who's been raised by two very successful actors and he wanted to learn."

Deacon Phillippe was discovered by his musical idol

As well as spearheading the tropical house movement, giving Whitney Houston her biggest posthumous hit single, and performing at the 2016 Olympics closing ceremony, Norwegian DJ Kygo is also now responsible for putting a Hollywood offspring on the dance music map.

The "Higher Love" hitmaker, who's also collaborated with the likes of Selena Gomez, Ellie Goulding, and Imagine Dragons, put out Deacon Phillippe's first single, the Nina Nesbitt-featuring "Long Run," on his Palm Tree Records label in 2020. And the nepo baby couldn't have been more stoked at Kygo's championing.

When asked about his most cherished bit of feedback by Billboard, Phillippe said, "The fact that Kygo DM'd me about it and that I got to hear his compliments on the song. He's a huge musical inspiration for me ... To hear him say 'Congratulations' just made me feel like, 'Wow, this is something that's really going to start to get going for me.' It gave me a lot of motivation."

Deacon Phillippe knows how to dress for the occasion

Having been kitted out in the best clothes that money can buy since he was a baby, Deacon Phillippe understandably knows a thing or two about fashion. And he's therefore able to adapt his style to suit the occasion.

Speaking to People at an H&M x Rabanne bash in 2023, the New York University student explained that he's equally comfortable going casual or smart: "Usually I like to wear stuff that's comfortable, that I can do my job in, which is to make music and perform. As a kid, I always loved dressing up and I loved getting ready for going to church. I liked the feeling of getting dressed up. I feel like you've got to look your best to feel your best."

And as a man who splits his time between Nashville, Los Angeles, and the Big Apple, Phillippe has now carved out a signature dress sense: "Just like everything, your life is an amalgamation of all the places you've lived. Same with my style. I like to incorporate a little bit of that country western vibe with a street vibe," he told People.

Deacon Phillippe's father inspired his music career

As he displayed with a slightly embarrassing dad rap on "Sway in the Morning" (sample lyric: "Crash into me with cruel intentions/and I'll take away your girl/and do some things that we won't mention"), Ryan Phillippe is quite the hip-hop fan. And while the "Shooter" star doesn't appear to have the musical gene himself, he was still able to inspire his son when it came to making beats and rhymes.

Speaking to Interview magazine in 2020, Deacon Phillippe revealed that he experienced a significant epiphany during one particular journey with his famous father: "When I was listening to the radio in the car with my dad, something just clicked. I realized there's more to making music than just being a vocalist, and that a lot of times it's the production that makes me feel something."

And Ryan's involvement didn't end there. Deacon added, "I asked my dad about how it works, and he taught me all the stuff he knew, and then I started watching YouTube videos." Soon after, the New York University student caught the eye of Norwegian DJ Kygo and the rest is history.

Deacon Phillippe is friends with another celebrity offspring

Just like the Hollywood glitterati appear to gravitate toward each other, so do their offspring. In 2023, Deacon Phillippe was pictured enjoying an evening out in Los Angeles with Magnus Ferrell, who, as his surname suggests, is the son of Hollywood funnyman Will Ferrell.

The pair were spotted heading for drinks at Craig's, a nightspot regularly frequented by the rich and famous. And celebrity parents aren't the only thing that Phillippe and Ferrell have in common. Just 24 hours earlier, the former had opened for a show at The Vermont Hollywood which was headlined by the latter celebrating the release of his single "Drinks on Me."

According to Parade, Ferrell later thanked Phillippe in a series of Instagram snaps for his support at the gig, which also served as a benefit for Smile Train, a global charity designed to raise funds and awareness for clefts. "That was so much fun," he captioned the carousel, adding, "God I love performing."

Deacon Phillippe also works out with his father

Thanks to his shirtless appearances in the likes of "White Squall," "I Know What You Did Last Summer," and "Cruel Intentions," Ryan Phillippe became one of the ultimate pin-ups of the late 1990s. And it looks as though his son is following suit.

Yes, as evident from his Instagram page and the slightly revealing fur coat shoot for the American issue of King Kong magazine, Deacon Phillippe isn't averse to the odd thirst trap, either. In fact, he and his famous dad will often work out together to make sure they're always beach body-ready.

In an interview with People, 40-something Ryan admitted that he now finds it difficult to keep up with his son in the gym: "It's like the law of diminishing returns, right? You've got to work harder in the gym for fewer results ... We'll do the same workout, and the way he looks after compared to the way I look is really defeating."

Deacon Phillippe has modeled for Beyoncé

Blessed with the highly photogenic looks of both his mother Reese Witherspoon and father Ryan Phillippe, Deacon Phillippe has perhaps inevitably been courted by some of the fashion world's major players. And they don't get much more stylish than the world-conquering superstar that is Beyoncé.

Alongside sister Ava Phillippe, Deacon was invited to promote the "Crazy in Love" singer's latest team-up with sporting giants Adidas in 2023. The HALLS of IVY range was designed to repurpose the vintage varsity look for the contemporary everyday wearer. And the New York University student couldn't have been more excited to get involved.

In an interview with Teen Vogue, Deacon said, "The energy at the shoot was infectious. Beyoncé and her team's unique interpretation of this old-school college look was very cool." When asked what he'd most enjoyed about the experience, the aspiring musician named the clothes, the experience of working alongside his sibling, and meeting another celebrity offspring, Beyoncé and Jay-Z's daughter Blue Ivy.

Deacon Phillippe tests his music out on his family

It's fair to say that Deacon Phillippe has the unwavering support of his family when it comes to his music career. Mom Reese Witherspoon can't stop gushing about his talent, even dancing along to one of his songs in an Instagram video. And both parents showed up to the launch of his debut album, "A New Earth," in 2023 (via People).

So it's little surprise that Deacon values the opinion of his nearest and dearest, as he explained to Billboard: "I'm just really lucky that they also inspire me creatively and help me with whatever they can. When I make songs, the first people I show them to are my mom, my dad, my brother and my sister."

Speaking in 2020, before he moved onto campus and then into his own swanky apartment while studying music at New York University, Deacon admitted that sometimes the rest of his family have no option but to hear his new material: "My studio is in my mom's house, and a lot of the time it can get really loud. I'm sure they can hear it from upstairs, but they bear the sound annoyances, and they'll still come down and tell me what they think of each song."

Deacon Phillippe is an unlikely fan of a country legend

Considering that he grew up listening to his father Ryan Phillippe's hip-hop collection and he now makes dance music while studying at New York University, it's perhaps a little surprising to hear that Deacon Phillippe's main musical hero is a country legend.

In an interview with Billboard about his inspirations, Deacon named a likelier suspect, Kanye West, for his ability to "think outside the box," before giving props to Johnny Cash for his storytelling talents. Of course, the youngster's mom Reese Witherspoon delivered an Oscar-winning portrayal of the Man in Black's wife, June Carter Cash, in the biopic "Walk the Line."

And Deacon's love of Cash makes even more sense when you take into consideration that he spent much of his childhood in the birthplace of country music, Nashville. He added, "I listen to country and pop. What I've tried to do in my production and brand is to incorporate the type of music that I listen to and the type of music that inspires me all into one."

Deacon Phillippe entered into a relationship with an influencer

Deacon Phillippe doesn't appear to have any issues with commitment. The musician spent most of his late teenage years with the same girl, Marine DeGryse, an influencer whose Sweet Ness YouTube channel has racked up more than 580,000 subscribers.

The pair made things Instagram official in 2020 when Phillippe posted a celebratory message alongside a series of loved-up snaps. He wrote (via The Sun), "Happy birthday to the most amazing girl I know. I love you more every day."

Marine and Deacon were still going strong a year later judging by the vacation pics they shared on the same platform. "I'm so lucky man," the latter wrote (per Us Weekly) alongside a beachside photo taken during a getaway they enjoyed with his sister Ava Phillippe and her other half, Owen Mahoney. Things have been a bit quiet on the Deacon and Marine front as of late. An encouraging sign is that the former hasn't yet been linked with anyone else. On the other hand, the aforementioned Instagram pics appear to have now been deleted. 

Making his debut album was Deacon Phillippe's biggest life challenge

In 2023, Deacon Phillippe dropped "A New Earth," a 12-track debut album that he launched at a glitzy party attended by his famous parents, Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe. And having recorded it while simultaneously taking first year classes at New York University, the celebrity offspring found the whole process much more difficult than expected.

Speaking to People (via Yahoo! Finance) about the LP at another showbiz bash, the launch for fashion collaboration H&M x Rabanne, Deacon said, "That was one of the most challenging things I ever did. Recorded it all in there with my friends, my roommates, while going to school."

But Deacon is happy with the end result, which also boasts two guest appearances from singer Chain Arcade: "[Fitting everything in is] the hardest part, but I think that if you're doing what you love, it's worth the sacrifice of being stressed out sometimes. I try to create routines. I have a daily schedule and I try to relax in certain times and then go hard in others."

Deacon Phillippe helped his mum master TikTok

Reese Witherspoon has amassed more than 8.8 million followers and 58 million likes since joining TikTok in 2019. And she pretty much has her son Deacon to thank for her success on the video-sharing platform.

Shortly before signing up, Reese took to another social media site, Instagram, to post a clip in which she desperately needed Deacon's guidance: "I've brought you here because I have questions for you. It's about TikTok ... What is TikTok? For all the moms out there, what is TikTok?"

Deacon was more than happy to explain, describing TikTok as a "short-form video platform for kids," before agreeing that it would be beneficial for his mom to join the revolution. The pair were then seen practicing various viral dance challenges including the Milly Rock before the Academy Award winner finally plucked up the courage to drop her TikTok debut, a short clip of her in several different poses set to the sound of The Chordettes' "Mr Sandman." She's since posted dozens of videos, but interestingly, Deacon himself hasn't embraced the platform himself that much.