Ryan Phillippe: Mystery Good for Marriage

The Flags of Our Fathers star says it helps him and wife Reese Witherspoon to do things on their own

Photo: Michael Loccisano/FilmMagic

Flags of Our Fathers star Ryan Phillippe hasn’t worked with wife Reese Witherspoon since 1999’s Cruel Intentions (they met on set), but, he says, it’s better that way.

“Sometimes I think it’s a little cleaner to, at least at this stage in our lives, keep that stuff separate,” he tells Interview magazine in its new issue. “I’d never write anything off completely, but I just feel like there’s something to be said for the individuality and mystery of doing things on your own.”

Phillippe, 32, says he’ll never get used to working away from Witherspoon and their kids Ava, 7, and Deacon, 3. “That’s a difficulty that I don’t know if I will ever totally come to terms with. But I think I commit sometimes even further to a role because it leaves me less time to think about those things that make me feel sad, like not being around my children.”

Immersing himself in his role, he says, serves as “a shield or a protective blanket that keeps me from having to deal with the reality. If I can’t see my kids, and I’m in another time zone, I really have to live and eat and breathe the work around the clock, because that keeps me sane.”

Asked if he distances himself from Witherspoon when they talk on the phone, he says, “At times, yes. But because she does the same work, she completely understands.”

The couple makes sure that if one parent is making a movie, the other will remain at home with the kids. “That’s one of the ways we keep the balance,” Phillippe says.

But, he admits, “There are obstacles in every family. It’s never going to be perfect – you just try to do the best you can and to create a life that is positive and full for them.”

He’s got one tough critic, though. “Ava just turned 7 and just started first grade,” he says. “I’ve been down in Austin making this movie (an untitled film about Iraq directed by Kimberly Peirce), so I had the whole conversation with her where I’m getting guilted. She’s like, ‘You’ve missed my first day of school two years in a row.’ She gives me a harder time than Reese, by far.”

Related Articles