Reese Witherspoon Has Her Very Own 'Southern Mafia'

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Being an Oscar-winning actress, producer, wife, and parent to three kids isn’t easy, and Reese Witherspoon is the first to admit that a good support system is key.

"I learned a few years ago that there are people who don’t want good things for you. You’ve got to get away from them," the actress tells InStyle for the cover story of their May issue. "Now I surround myself with supportive friends. I have a close group of girlfriends I call my Southern Mafia. One’s from Oklahoma, one’s from Arkansas, another’s from Tennessee."

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Witherspoon says her relationships with her "Mafia" friends have been crucial in helping her navigate life’s ups and downs.

"Parenting, getting through your marriage, getting through your day, these are hard things, and I find solace in the fact that other people struggle with the same stuff I do," she admits. "We all have concerns about our kids, our marriage, our dreams."

The actress has channeled her love and admiration for strong female figures into her work on the big screen. Last year alone, Witherspoon produced two Oscar-nominated films -- Wild and Gone Girl -- that featured complicated female leads, a fact she is proud of as both a professional and a mom.

"I grew up seeing incredibly strong women like Holly Hunter, Sigourney Weaver and Debra Winger," she explains. "I want to ensure that my 15-year-old daughter, Ava, grows up seeing those types of strong women playing complicated parts."

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The actress’ latest female-driven feature project is Hot Pursuit, a comedy in which Witherspoon plays a cop tasked with protecting the widow of a drug dealer, played by Modern Family star Sofia Vergara.

"As soon as I met Sofia, I said, 'I want to make a movie with you,'" Witherspoon told InStyle. "I think she’s the next Lucille Ball. She and I together are such a funny thing because we represent two completely different cultures and kinds of women, but we just love each other. We laughed so much. I couldn’t understand what she was saying half the time. She couldn’t understand what I was saying half the time. But we both love cake, clothes, kids and our families."

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Check out the first scenes from Hot Pursuit in the video below.