"You have to get to that point as a divorced parent, as any parent, where you're not putting yourself first," Ryan Phillippe tells Entertainment Tonight

By Jen Juneau
November 16, 2016 01:05 PM
Daniel Zuchnik/Getty

Ryan Phillippe and Reese Witherspoon‘s romance may be a thing of the past, but the former spouses are one big family when it comes to co-parenting their children Deacon, 13, and Ava, 17.

“You have to get to that point as a divorced parent, as any parent, where you’re not putting yourself first,” Phillippe told Entertainment Tonight. “You want the kids’ experience to be its own and not like, ‘Well, I need to have my time!’ We have been very good about that.”

And that “kids first” mantra is especially handy around the holidays.

“As a divorced dad, we trade off. Last year, my kids and I went to my parents in Delaware, this year they will be with their mom and I am shooting a movie up in Toronto,” adds the Secrets and Lies star, 42. “I am going to fly down to Philly and just have a Thanksgiving with my parents and the kids get to be with Reese.”

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Phillippe and Witherspoon famously met shortly before filming their 1999 teen drama Cruel Intentions, and were married the same year the film premiered. They split in 2006, but have since both found happiness in other partners. For Witherspoon, that person is Jim Toth, whom she married in 2011 and welcomed son Tennessee James with the following year.

As for Phillippe — who also has a daughter named Kai, 5, with former partner Alexis Knapp — he proposed to longtime love Paulina Slagter in 2015. Of his then-law-student girlfriend, Phillippe told Howard Stern earlier that year, “As you get older, certain issues become more important to you. I’m very involved in civil-rights issues, and so to be with a woman who could actually make an impact in the legal realm – that’s a beautiful thing.”

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Though Phillippe and Witherspoon are friendly and dedicated to keeping their families close, Witherspoon, 40, has admitted there are certain things that are off limits.

“They have this Cruel Intentions play in L.A. that’s like a musical. So I was going to take them to that. But they haven’t seen it,” she said in 2015.

“They don’t have any interest in seeing me in movies. It’s weird for them. They’re like, ‘This is so weird!’ And especially seeing me and their dad having sex. It’s so weird. Not interested.”