Reese Witherspoon “Didn’t Understand What Homosexuality Was” Until She Moved To Los Angeles

“No one spoke to me about sexuality when I was a teenager”

During Pride Month, many of Hollywood’s most famous faces have shared their adoration and respect for the LGBTQI+ community. However, Reese Witherspoon shared a confession about how she didn’t understand what homosexuality was before she moved to Los Angeles.

In an interview on Variety‘s Actors on Actors series, Witherspoon and Watchmen actress Regina King spoke candidly about her lack of education about sexuality was the cause of her misunderstanding. And more importantly, how that same lack of understanding inspired a scene from her Hulu series Little Fires Everywhere.

Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Witherspoon will always be a Southern girl, even releasing her book Whiskey In A Teacup, written about her childhood growing up in the South .

However, after moving to Los Angeles at the start of her career, she received an education that she’d never forget. She began her LGBTQI+ awareness journey at an audition at the start of her career, admitting, “No one spoke to me about sexuality when I was a teenager.”


“I didn’t understand what homosexuality was. My grandparents didn’t explain it; my parents didn’t explain it. I had to learn from somebody I met on an audition in Los Angeles.” she continued.

Witherspoon then opened up about how creating Little Fires Everywhere forced her to reflect on her upbringing, referring to it as “that great experience of being able to look at a time that was actually 30 years ago and think: ‘I was a teenager then. What did my mom say about sexuality, race, class? What were the things that I was told that maybe were true or not true? How was I insensitive?'”


Since her early days, Witherspoon’s worldview has expanded greatly, leading her to confront her family about why she was never told. And according to Witherspoon, said conversation inspired a line said by her character Elena in the series, set in 1990s Ohio. 

“We incorporated some of the conversation I had with my grandmother afterward,” she revealed. “She said: ‘Homosexuality is very rare, Reese. That’s not a thing that happens very often.’ And we put it in the script… Elena says it because that’s what was said to me in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1994.”

However, she has come along way since her early days, and has become somewhat of an activist for the LGBTQI+ community, by giving representation in projects from her Hello Sunshine production company, including Little Fires Everywhere, which features two LGBTQ characters.

If you haven’t already, check out the Little Fires Everywhere trailer below.

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