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Why did Ryan Phillippe and Reese Witherspoon split after seven years? A timeline of their relationship

The couple met on Reese's 21st birthday party in 1998 and hit it off immediately
UPDATED JAN 27, 2021
Ryan Phillippe and Reese Witherspoon worked together in 'Cruel Intentions' (Getty Images)
Ryan Phillippe and Reese Witherspoon worked together in 'Cruel Intentions' (Getty Images)

'Big Sky' is returning after a break of nearly two months and there is a lot to wrap up. We won't be seeing Ryan Phillippe's Cody Hoyt, as he was shot dead in the first episode itself, much to the shock of viewers.

The show had been marketed and promoted as a Ryan Phillippe project, so obviously this was a bit of a downer for many fans. But his presence continues to loom large on the show, as he tends to drive the narrative and the series goes into flashbacks, focussing on his complicated love triangle with his ex-wife Jenny Hoyt (Katheryn Winnick) and Cassie (Kylie Bunbury).

Viewers are still waiting and hoping that there might be some chance of Cody being alive so we can see Phillippe in action again. That's just the grasp he has on his fans, and he seemed to have channeled his dark and grimy 'Cruel Intentions' avatar for the show.

Phillippe has been in and out of the spotlight over the years, but it's his personal life that has created more drama than his professional. For starters, it's not easy to forget he was once married to Reese Witherspoon, his 'Cruel Intentions' co-star, and had two children with her as well. Much to the sorrow of their fans, the two couldn't make it work.

Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe attend the premiere of 'Walk The Line' at the Beacon Theater on November 13, 2005, in New York City (Getty Images)

So what went wrong?

Phillippe met Witherspoon when she was just 21, in the year 1998. Witherspoon spoke to Jane Magazine about him then and said, "I met him at my 21st birthday party. I don’t know what came over me — maybe the seven Midori sours — but I told him, ‘I think you’re my birthday present.’ He thought it was so flattering, and now that I think about it … how embarrassing!”

They began to date, live together and even worked with each other for the erotic classic 'Cruel Intentions'. They were engaged a year after meeting and Witherspoon was pregnant before the wedding.  Unfortunately, by the early 2000s, things began to fizzle out between the two of them. They put out a joint statement in 2006 announcing the end of their relationship. "We are saddened to announce that Reese and Ryan have decided to formally separate. They remain committed to their family and we ask that you please respect their privacy and the safety of their children at this time.”

Actress Reese Witherspoon accompanies Ryan Phillippe to The Cinema Society & Zenith Watches screening of 'Flags Of Our Fathers' on October 16, 2006, in New York City (Getty Images)

Later, Phillippe explained that they got married too early. Phillippe told Larry King: “When we got together we were so young. I think it can create issues with two people in this industry because there’s so much noise that goes along with it.”

In 2017, Witherspoon had said, "I got married when I was 23 and I had two kids by the time I was 27. So I don’t know, you know, sometimes it’s good to know yourself.”

Yet despite all odds, the two are very good friends and work to co-parent their teenagers.