Nearly two weeks since she was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after a boozy confrontation with an Atlanta police officer and after canceling a spate of promotional appearances timed to her new film "Mud," Reese Witherspoon sat for her first post-arrest interview Thursday on “Good Morning America.”
As an attempt to rehabilitate her good-girl image, it was a small step in the right direction for Witherspoon, who responded with candor and contrition -- or at least as much as her lawyers would allow. Anchor George Stephanopoulos didn't give her the full Oprah treatment, but he did dive headlong into the subject, addressing it, inevitably, as the "elephant in the room."
Witherspoon was well-prepared with a response.
“We went out to dinner in Atlanta and we had one too many glasses of wine. We thought we were fine to drive and we absolutely were not, and it’s just completely unacceptable and we are so sorry and embarrassed and we know better,” she said of the incident, in which her husband, CAA agent Jim Toth, was charged with driving while intoxicated and she was charged with disorderly conduct.
Stephanopoulos then asked Witherspoon, who remains one of Hollywood’s highest-paid actresses, why she and Toth didn’t simply call a cab.
“It was poor judgment,” she said.
The anchor also addressed the fact that Witherspoon’s alleged behavior -- she reportedly asked the police officer on the scene “Do you know my name?” and protested that “she was a ‘U.S. citizen’ and that she was allowed to ‘stand on American ground’” -- came as an extra shock given her squeaky clean reputation.
“I agree. I have no idea what I was saying that night. I saw him arresting my husband and I literally panicked. I told him I was pregnant; I’m not pregnant. I said crazy things,” she (sort of) explained.
Witherspoon said the hardest part of the whole ordeal was explaining to her children what happened. “You just have to be honest with them,” she said.
The confessional ended on a light note, as Witherspoon joked, “I’ve played a lawyer so many times in the movies, I think I am a lawyer.”
Stephanopoulos, for his part, seemed genuinely won over by his guest, but it remains to be seen whether moviegoers elsewhere on "American ground" will be as forgiving.
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