August 23, 2017 09:15 AM


Reese Witherspoon‘s kids are growing up — and developing quite the dynamic among themselves.

The Oscar winner and Draper James founder graces the cover of Southern Living‘s September issue, dishing to the magazine about life at home with her kids: Tennessee James, 5 next month, Deacon Reese, 13, and Ava Elizabeth, 17.

“The kids all have funny and unique relationships with each other,” says Witherspoon, 41. “Ava is like another parent to Tennessee, like his other mother. I think sometimes he even gets confused — he told Ava ‘Happy Mother’s Day!’ “

“And Tennessee is just sort of like Deacon’s protégé,” she adds. “He follows his older brother around the house all day.”

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Southern Living

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The Legally Blonde star and husband Jim Toth‘s household doesn’t stop at five, though. “We have three dogs: a German shepherd called Nashville; a chocolate Lab called Hank Williams, who swims all day in the pool; and a little French bulldog — Ava’s dog — called Pepper,” she says.

When asked about the meaning behind her son and German shepherd’s coordinating geographical names, Witherspoon — who was raised in Tennessee — jokes with a laugh, “You think I want to go home? You think I miss it?”

Southern Living

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Aside from the actress’s home state, her youngest child’s moniker is a nod to Tennessee Williams — one of her “favorite playwrights,” perhaps most famous for A Streetcar Named Desire (Witherspoon was born in New Orleans, where the play is set).

Southern Living

But understandably, “Tennessee” is quite a challenge to get just right on paper when you’re a youngster, says the A Wrinkle in Time star.

“My own Tennessee is trying to learn how to spell his name right now,” Witherspoon shares. “We were over at the preschool, and the teachers were saying that sometimes he just quits and writes ‘Toth’ instead.”

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