What Moment Inspired Reese Witherspoon To Take Control Of Her Career?

Reese Witherspoon has had a long career in Hollywood, appearing in iconic roles as Elle Woods in "Legally Blonde" to Tracy Flick in "Election" to June Carter Cash in "Walk the Line" (for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress). However, after an upbringing in Nashville, Witherspoon originally got her start as a child star — specifically, as a teenager in the 1991 film "The Man in the Moon." As Witherspoon got older, she found herself struggling with finding roles around the mid-to-late 2000s, which she attributed in part to her divorce from "Cruel Intentions" co-star Ryan Phillippe in a 2014 interview with CBS News.

"I was just kind of floundering career-wise, 'cause I wasn't making things I was passionate about," she said at the time. I was just kind of working, you know. And it was really clear that audiences weren't responding to anything I was putting out there."

Now, decades after her first film, it's clear that this revelation led the actor to reassess her career. Now, Witherspoon is mom to three children — Ava, 22, and Deacon, 18, with Phillippe, and son Tennessee, 9, through her current marriage to Jim Toth — and she's gearing up for her latest role in the upcoming children's film, "Sing 2." Here's what she revealed to her cartoon co-star Scarlett Johansson about her mindset in Hollywood.

Reese Witherspoon needed to make a big change in her career

In a conversation with People, Reese Witherspoon sat down with her "Sing 2" co-star Scarlett Johansson to discuss a personal and pivotal moment in her career. Witherspoon revealed that there was a time when she knew she had to take back charge of her acting career, after having been a child and teen star for so long. The actor explained that the revelation happened when she was 34, after lots of other people in Hollywood had control over her in the business.

" ... As a child actor, you just have a different relationship with your representatives," she revealed, "and then I had grown up and I had all the relationships with the heads of studio and all of that, but I wasn't making any of the phone calls or taking my career into my own hands." Now, Witherspoon noted, "I feel better about stepping into positions of leadership. Because I have been doing this for 30 years, I do know what I'm doing. I can get on a set and pretty much tell you what's happening. And I'm really proud of the fact that I'm a really good problem solver," the movie star continued.

It's clear that Witherspoon's new attitude only gave her more success in the business, as she went on to star in (and produce) critically-acclaimed movies and TV shows like "Wild," "Big Little Lies," "Little Fires Everywhere," and "The Morning Show."