As schools everywhere shut down and switch to remote learning plans, children of all ages have been spending more time at home, and each age group brings its own set of challenges. Little Fires Everywhere star Reese Witherspoon opened up about how her family’s been dealing with their time in quarantine, now that she’s hunkered down with husband Jim Toth and kids Ava, Deacon, and Tennessee. Witherspoon thinks the quarantine has been hardest on her older kids — and she has a lot of sympathy about the reason why.
Witherspoon shares 20-year-old Ava and 16-year-old Deacon with ex-husband Ryan Phillippe; she shares 7-year-old Tennessee with Toth. On Miley Cyrus’s Instagram Live show Bright Minded: Live With Miley, Witherspoon explained why her heart’s going out to her older kids — especially Ava, who’s returned home from Stanford to finish out the school year at home.
“She was living her own life. Now she can’t see her friends,” Witherspoon said of her daughter. “I think a lot about people who are coming home from college — that’s a time where you are trying to individuate. You have to actually kind of move away from your parents’ ideas, you have to move away from their structure and their routine, and create your own and now you have to go backwards. That must be so frustrating to lose that independence.”
As for her high-school-aged son Deacon, he’s feeling the pangs of young love. Since Deacon “can’t see his girlfriend,” mom Witherspoon explained he’s been “feeling really isolated.” Poor Deacon!
So, why is quarantine not quite as rough on young Tennessee? Honestly, the reason is pretty adorable. “[He’s] so happy because his 16-year-old brother and sister are home all day,” Witherspoon said. That’s the silver lining here, right? If nothing else, for better or for worse, many families are going to be seeing a lot more of each other.
Hopefully, Ava and Deacon will be able to take comfort in their younger brother’s company. But of course, what Witherspoon’s saying is dead on, and having your independence taken away just when you were starting to come into your own must be incredibly tough. Just like Tennessee, all we can do is try to look on the bright side.