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Reese Witherspoon’s real name shocks fans as she revealed why she chose another moniker

The explanation sheds light on Witherspoon’s choice to use her mother’s maiden name

Shirley Gomez
Senior Writer
JUNE 7, 2024 6:17 PM EDT

Fans have been stunned after discovering that Reese Witherspoon’s first name isn’t Reese. The revelation came during a candid interview with Vanity Fair, where the 48-year-old actress appeared alongside Nicole Kidman. The pair, known for their camaraderie since starring together in the hit series “Big Little Lies,” delved into Witherspoon’s peculiar habit of calling their mutual friend and co-star, Laura Dern, by her surname.

Puzzled by the practice, Kidman commented during the interview, “I hate how you call her Dern. It sounds weird.” Witherspoon, an Oscar-winning actress known for her roles in “Legally Blonde,” explained the rationale behind this habit, revealing a surprising fact about her name. “I’m gonna tell you why,” she began. “Because my name is Laura, and her name is Laura, and it’s confusing to me. My real name is Laura Jeanne.”

49th AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute To Nicole Kidman© GettyImages

This revelation seemed to jog Kidman’s memory, who responded, “That’s right! So you call her Dern.” The explanation sheds light on Witherspoon’s choice to use her mother’s maiden name, Reese, as her professional moniker.

Born Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon, she opted to go by Reese when she launched her acting career in the 1990s. This decision not only distinguished her in Hollywood but also avoided the confusion of sharing her given name with her co-star Laura Dern.

Fans of the actress, who has built a significant following over her decades-long career, were quick to express their astonishment on social media. Many were unaware of this detail despite Witherspoon’s extensive time in the public eye.

49th AFI Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute Celebrating Nicole Kidman   Arrivals© GettyImages

“Wait, Reese Witherspoon’s real name is Laura? Mind blown,” tweeted one fan, encapsulating the general sentiment. Another commented, “I’ve been a fan for years and had no idea her name wasn’t Reese!”

This revelation adds a fascinating layer to Witherspoon’s already rich public persona. Known for her authenticity and down-to-earth nature, this personal tidbit underscores the strategic decisions behind the names celebrities choose to present to the world.