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Reese Witherspoon: ‘I Was So Confused Before I Had Kids’

ABC/Rick Rowell(NEW YORK) -- Reese Witherspoon has been making hit movies for more than 20 years, but it wasn’t until she had her children that the Oscar winner said she became a better, more mature woman.

“I feel like I was so confused before I had kids, I almost got in my own way,” Witherspoon told Elle for its November issue. "Having kids made me clearer about who I was as a woman. I just wanted to exhibit good qualities for my daughter.”

What kind of qualities did the Legally Blonde star want to exhibit?

“I was a little competitive before I had kids -- probably really competitive, to be honest,” she said. "It really made me let go of that.”

Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe were married from 1999 to 2007 and had two children – Ava, 14, and Deacon, 9. She since has had son Tennessee, 1, with her new husband. Jim Toth.

Witherspoon said she doesn’t think women get less exciting or interesting with age and having kids. In fact, the Mud star said children forced her to branch out and start producing movies.

“I started noticing a couple years ago that I wasn’t seeing women as the stars of movies. I’m seeing them as the guys’ girlfriends, or so-and-so’s wife,” she added. "I just thought: God, if I don’t start buckling down and start producing some movies, what’s my daughter going to see in the movies?”

The November issue of Elle hits newsstands on Oct. 22.

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