Reese Witherspoon Said Filling Out Her Daughter's College Applications Was an "Arrow in the Heart"

It's all part of growing up. 

She may seem calm, cool, and collected all the time (or freaking out at the slightest inconvenience in just about every single one of her roles), but in a new interview with Emmy magazine, Reese Witherspoon explained that seeing her daughter grow up hit her harder than she thought. Entertainment Tonight reports that she channeled that energy into her new role in Little Fires Everywhere.

Witherspoon noted that the book, written by Celeste Ng, had so many emotional passages that required her to dig into her own experiences to portray. Part of that was remembering the heartbreak of seeing her daughter Ava grow up.

"It's so difficult to articulate what motherhood means and there are so many passages in the novel that did," Witherspoon said. "[One passage was about] training yourself to live on the smell of an apple alone, when what you really wanted was to devour it, to sink your teeth into it and consume it, seeds, core and all."

Reese Witherspoon New York Film Critics Circle Awards
Theo Wargo/Getty Images

One specific moment that she mentioned was filling out Ava's college applications, which she saw as the moment she went from being a kid to an adult.

"It's such a vivid way to describe the loss of your children as they grow up," she continued. "My daughter was applying for college back then, so it hit me like an arrow in the heart."

She added that whether it was intentional or not, she was playing her mother, Betty. The maternal energy was coming from everywhere, it seemed, whether it was from Witherspoon's own experience or what she went through with her mom.

"I don't know why it never occurred to us until we were almost into production. I was like, 'I'm playing [my mother] Betty!'" she said.

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