In a not so surprising announcement made Monday night by the couple's spokesperson, Reese Witherspoon and husband Ryan Phillippe have decided to split after seven years of marriage and the production of two (beautiful) children, Ava, 7 and Deacon, 3.
While I'm not that surprised, considering the speculation and talk of marital problems from the get-go, I am saddened by the news that the two are separating. Although there is no mention yet of divorce, the announcement made by the spokesperson does not sound terribly hopeful:
We are saddened to announce that Reese and Ryan have decided to formally separate. They remain committed to their family and we ask that you please respect their privacy and the safety of their children at this time.
They very mention of "Reese" before "Ryan" is what doubters of the couple's potential to last have long considered the reason why the marriage wasn't working. Reese Witherspoon has achieved more film and career success than her husband. But how ironic for this to happen just as Ryan has a critically acclaimed role in the movie Flags of Our Fathers and has burst into the limelight himself. Or perhaps not ironic, but telling. It is when Ryan is finally empowered in his role as an actor that he can withdraw in his role as the over-shadowed husband.
And yet I find myself heart-broken for Reese in particular. She always put her family first, and tried so hard to constantly point out her respect and support for her husband. But she became an A-lister, pulling in tens of millions of dollars while Ryan had straggling roles to netted him about $500,000 as the most. So while Reese has been bringing home the bacon and doting on her kids, Ryan has appeared to be silently fuming for years about his less-than star status and backseat role for his wife. What got lost in the process was the young love and passion for each other they shared before their careers careened on different trajectories. Maybe with space apart that can be reclaimed. Especially as it is clear that they both adore their kids, and ultimately talked of wanting more.
Either way, I hope that whatever path Reese and Ryan take, alone or together, they continue to show up other celebrity parents with their constant displays of attention to and investment in the lives of their two very loved children.
Image from movies.yahoo.com