Ava Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon’s daughter, opened up about her sexuality to fans on Instagram recently, saying that she believed “gender is whatever.”
The 22-year-old daughter of the Big Little Lies and The Morning Show actress was responding to fans through Instagram’s “Questions” feature, when she shared that she’s not into labels or traditional definitions of gender roles.
“I’m attracted to… people!” she said in response to a question about whether she liked “boys or girls.” The post was shared alongside a selfie of Ava with pink hair and blue eyeshadow that garnered over 996,000 likes on the social media platform.
Ava Phillippe’s Instagram page, where she calls herself a “virgo mom friend,” also features links to mental health resources.
The 22-year-old celebrity daughter has been linked romantically to Owen Mahoney, a fellow UC Berkeley student, though the last photo they shared together was from this past summer.
The couple went Instagram official back in 2019 and recently went on a trip together to Austin, Tx. in July.
A supportive Reese Witherspoon commented on the photo, writing, “😍 These two.”
At the time, many fans remarked that Mahoney looked very similar to Ava’s father, Ryan Phillippe, with one commenter writing, “Totally Reese and Ryan!”
Though Ava is usually more private about her relationship, she told E! News last month that what she looks for is “a sense of empathy.”
“People that are able to be that honest and tap into that empathy in such a real way, there’s nothing like it to me,” she explained. “My friends, I think they all have their own ways of doing it, I love that about them. And in my romantic life it’s also important, for sure.”
Ava Phillippe and her mother have a very close relationship, with Ava writing on Mother’s Day that she was a “best friend, role model, cheerleader, confidante, and so much more.”
Ava is the eldest in the family to younger brother Deacon Reese Phillippe, 18, and half-brother Tennessee James Toth, 8. Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe split in 2007 following eight years of marriage. She later married talent agent Jim Toth in 2011.
Discussing her experience raising celebrity children in the spotlight Reese told InStyle, “It’s an odd situation because I didn’t grow up famous.”
Growing up in New Orleans, La., Reese’s parents were both medical professionals. After gaining some major acting credits in films such as Pleasantville and Election in the late ’90s, she and Ryan had Ava on Sep. 9, 1999.
Ava is “living an experience that I did not have, and so are my sons,” Reese continued. “We are lucky enough to have friends who grew up in Hollywood and can help give them advice on how to navigate.”
Describing her daughter, she called Ava, “so down-to-earth” and someone who “wants to do great things in the world.”
Studying at UC Berkeley in California, she is “learning and trying to find herself,” according to her mother. “It’s a big thing in life to try different things and figure out what is really your path.”
The 22-year-old spends her time modeling on Instagram in branded posts, showcasing fashion collaborations with Beyonce’s Ivy Park, Pat McGrath, and Hally Hair.
Ava Phillippe recently celebrated her 22nd birthday in September, with her mom gushing on Instagram once again.
“Happy Birthday to my sweet little girl…excuse me… I mean my adult daughter!!!” Reese commented. “Words can’t describe how proud I am of you. You have grown into an extraordinary person who cares so much about the world around her. I am so lucky to have you light up my life. I love you, Ava!!”