"It's such a vivid way to describe the loss of your children as they grow up," she says of Little Fires Everywhere

By Tomás Mier
March 23, 2020 08:07 PM
Reese Witherspoon and daughter Ava Phillippe
Craig Barritt/Getty Images

It’s college acceptance season — and Reese Witherspoon is reliving sending her daughter Ava Phillipe off to college!

The actress opened up to Emmy Magazine about motherhood and how she related to the book her new Hulu show Little Fires Everywhere is based on.

“It’s so difficult to articulate what motherhood means, and there are so many passages in the novel that did,” the 44-year-old actress said, before reciting a passage of the Celeste Ng book. “[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.”

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

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Last year, Witherspoon opened up about the sadness she faced when her daughter, now 20, headed to Stanford University where the actress once went to school.

“It’s weird when your children go away to college. It’s hard,” she said on Ellen last May. “And I never imagined how it felt for my mom.”

“I might’ve gone into her empty room, laid down on her bed and cried when she went to college,” she continued. “But it’s okay, she’s coming back. Apparently, they come back, right? I thought she’d be gone.”

Witherspoon also joked about her mother Betty being upset when Witherspoon dropped out of Stanford to pursue acting — instead of becoming a plastic surgeon.

“She was mad about it for probably 10 years, and then I bought her a house so she got over it,” she said on the show. “At some point, it turned into a better deal for Betty.”

RELATED: Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington Ignite Little Fires Everywhere in Hulu’s Full Trailer

Witherspoon stars alongside Kerry Washington in the Hulu show which follows Washington’s character Mia who moves to Ohio with her teen daughter and becomes involved with Witherspoon’s character Elena. Witherspoon’s character in the show reminded her of her own 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 about the role.

Witherspoon shares Ava and son Deacon, 16, with her ex-husband Ryan Phillippe and son Tennessee, 7, with her husband Jim Toth.

Little Fires Everywhere is available now on Hulu.