Jason Merritt/Getty; Steve Granitz/WireImage
November 20, 2014 02:50 PM

Renée Zellweger has a friend in Reese Witherspoon, who spoke out against the negative attention Zellweger recently received for her appearance.

“It’s horrible. It’s cruel and rude and disrespectful, and I can go on and on and on. It bothers me immensely,” Witherspoon told The Hollywood Reporter during the magazine’s annual actress roundtable discussion.

“I know this is so Pollyanna of me, but why – and it’s particularly women – why do they have to tear women down? And why do we have to tear other women down to build another woman up? It drives me crazy,” she continued. “Like, this one looks great without her makeup but that one doesn’t look good without her makeup, and it’s all just a judgment and assault that I don’t – look, men are prey to it as well. I just don’t think it’s with the same sort of ferocity.”

The 38-year-old actress plays a strong woman in her new movie Wild, which hits theaters on Dec. 5, and when asked which contemporary woman she would like to play next, she responded, Beyoncé – another feminist in the spotlight.

But even with the pressure of being a woman in Hollywood, Witherspoon doesn’t have any regrets. She would even encourage her three children – Ava, 15, Deacon, 11, and Tennessee, 2 – to get into the business.

“I’ve had a wonderful life and I’ve been everywhere and I’ve gotten to work with creative people and tell stories. That’s all I ever wanted to do. So if [my kids] wanted to do it, I’d be very encouraging,” Witherspoon said. “I do think it’s hard. I would definitely illuminate all the difficulties. But my kids don’t seem to gravitate toward it anyway. So we’ll see.”

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