The actress covers Vanity Fair's April issue, on newsstands March 24, where she reflects on being "assaulted" and "harassed" as a child working in an adult world.
"Bad things happened to me. I was assaulted, harassed. It wasn’t isolated," Witherspoon, who started working as a teen, confessed. "I recently had a journalist ask me about it. She said, 'Well, why didn’t you speak up sooner?' And I thought, that’s so interesting to talk to someone who experienced those things and then judge them for the way they decide to speak about them."
"You tell your story in your own time when you’re ready. But the shame that she tried to put on me was unreal, and then she wrote about how selfish I was for not bringing it up sooner," she continued. "There wasn’t a public reckoning 25 years ago when this stuff happened to me. There wasn’t a forum to speak about it either."
With the #MeToo movement helping so many, the Big Little Lies star then explained how "social media has created a new way for people to express themselves that I didn’t have."
"That’s the great strength in power and numbers. I think we have a lot of judgment and that’s unfortunate because we’re all tenderfooted in these new times. We’re trying to find our identity. That’s what I really like about The Morning Show," she said.
Witherspoon, on her end, has made great strides with her impressive career, production companies and businesses. However, she's always made sure to move forward on her terms based on her work, intelligence, humor -- and not her sexuality.
"When I came up in the business, there were all these men’s magazines we were told to cater to," Witherspoon explained. "I was never in Maxim. I was never picked as a GQ girl, and I’m okay with that because that’s not how I wanted to be viewed."
"I always say, 'Funny doesn’t sag.' And you can’t be rendered obsolete if you just keep being funny," she said. "Guess what gets rendered obsolete? Your boobs go south, your face goes south, your ass goes south, but you can always be funny."
"It was so much fun," Washington recalled excitedly. "I felt a little nervous when we did it because I felt the pressure. Because people were crowding around the monitor like it was a major fight. Like it was Vegas."