Reese Witherspoon Shares Real First Name and It’s Tie to Laura Dern


A tale of two Lauras! Reese Witherspoon opened up about the little-known reason why she insists on calling her Big Little Lies co-star, Laura Dern, by her last name.

During a recent sit-down interview with her Big Little Lies star, Nicole Kidman, for Vanity Fair, Witherspoon shares some insight into her insistence on using “Dern” to address the Oscar winner. 

“I hate it when you call her ‘Dern,’ though!” Kidman scolds Witherspoon. “Because, it sounds weird! I’m always like, ‘Laura,’ and you’re like, ‘No, Dern!'”

Laura Dern and Reese Witherspoon on HBO’s Big Little Lies TV show panel during the TCA Winter Press Tour on Feb. 8, 2019.David Buchan/Variety/Penske Media via Getty Images

Witherspoon then clarifies her reasoning behind the moniker. 

“Do you know why? Because my name’s Laura and her name’s Laura, and it’s confusing to me,” Witherspoon explains. “My real name’s Laura Jeanne. So that’s why I call her ‘Dern’ because we can’t both be Laura.”

“Oh, that’s right!” Kidman says. 

The actress and producer full name is Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon. Though she goes by “Reese,” Witherspoon finds the shared first name with Dern to be too confusing. 

Witherspoon, Dern and Kidman starred in Big Little Lies ran for two seasons and raked in a series of awards, including eight Emmys. The show also starred Zoë Kravitz and Shailene Woodley, as well as Meryl Streep in season 2. 

The cast is set to return for a season 3, and in January, Kidman told ET that the show’s executive producers have a “timeline” in place. After “letting things find their way,” Kidman said she feels that “the time is now” to bring the show back.

Reese Witherspoon, Zoe Kravitz, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley, Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep attend HBO’s Big Little Lies season 2 premiere at Lincoln Center on May 29, 2019 in New York City.ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

“We are obviously all devastated at the loss of Jean-Marc Vallée,” she added, referring to the filmmaker and director who helmed the original series before his death on Dec. 25, 2021. “That made us go, ‘Can we move forward?’ But Reese and I, and all of the other women, have decided, yes we can.”

As a party of their Vanity Fair interview, Kidman shares additional details about the series, saying, “We’re moving fast and furious. (Author) Liane (Moriarty) is delivering the book. We’re in good shape.” 


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