Ryan Phillippe jumpstarted his acting career with a recurring appearance as Billy Douglas on the popular soap opera One Life to Live—Billy was the first homosexual teen character on U.S. daytime television. After spending a year on the series, Phillippe migrated to L.A. He took on several roles in television and film, including the teen thriller I Know What You Did Last Summer, the risqué drama Cruel Intentions, and the Oscar-nominated mystery Gosford Park.
Over the past decade, Phillippe has continued to land a steady stream of roles playing a variety of in-depth characters, like a newbie cop in Crash (2004), a navy corpsman in Flags of Our Fathers (2006), a young photographer in The Bang Bang Club (2010), a privileged playboy in The Lincoln Lawyer (2011), and a recovering addict in Straight A’s (2013).
If none of that rings a bell, you may know Phillippe as actress Reese Witherspoon’s ex-husband. The pair got engaged after a year of dating and tied the knot in June 1999—on their wedding day, Witherspoon was six months pregnant with Phillippe’s child. They welcomed their daughter that September, followed by a son in 2003. Three years later, they announced that they had decided to break up. Their marriage officially ended in October 2007.
At 33, Phillippe was suddenly single again—or was he? Rumors had been circulating that Witherspoon left him because she caught him having an affair with a younger woman, his Stop-Loss co-star Abbie Cornish, who was eight years his junior. Both Phillippe and Cornish denied the allegations of an affair. However, the pair started officially dating shortly after his divorce from Witherspoon was finalized—they even moved in together.
Their relationship ended about three years later amidst more rumors that Phillippe had been cheating on her too—he was reportedly caught making out with another woman at a party. The break-up didn’t hurt Phillippe’s ego too much because, since then, he’s been going younger and younger with his choice in women.
After Cornish, Phillippe moved on with actress Alexis Knapp—when they started dating in 2010, she was 21 and he was going on 36. They were only together for a few months, but that was more than enough time for Knapp to get knocked up with Phillippe’s child. She supposedly found out about the pregnancy after they had already broken up, but decided that she would keep the baby anyways. Their daughter was born on July 1, 2011 and Phillippe was present for the birth.
Phillippe, who’s closing in on 40, has most recently been linked to Paulina Slagter, a 22-year-old model and college student. To celebrate her recent graduation, Phillippe did what any sugar daddy would probably do: whisked his beautiful younger woman on a luxury trip to Hawaii. Slagter has also been seen spending time with Phillippe’s kids.
Slagter doesn’t seem to mind Phillippe’s bad rap when it comes to relationships, which might be because the actor has convinced her that he’s not as bad as the media makes him look. “I’ve been dumped on in the press for relationship stuff since Reese and I divorced. I’m tired of getting sh*t on,” he said in a recent radio interview. “I don’t feel like I deserve it. Things happen! How many people have you broken up with over your life?”
What do you think: Is Ryan Phillippe a victim of unfair press reports, or does he sound like he’s trying to cover up his illicit behavior?
“Ryan Phillippe: ‘I’m Tried Of Getting S*** On’ Over Reese Witherspoon Split,” Huffington Post web site; http://goo.gl/ylrgr, last accessed July 2, 2013.