BRB, tattooing “Gender is whatever” across my chest. It’s exactly what Ava Phillippe had to say in an Instagram Story when asked about which genders she’s attracted to. And no, we couldn’t applaud Phillippe’s feelings on gender and sexuality any more.
For context, Phillippe — the daughter of actors Ryan Philippe and Reese Witherspoon (who’s basically her doppelgänger) — was doing an Instagram Q&A on Jan. 12, 2022 when someone posed the question, “[Do] you like boys or girls?” In response, the 22-year-old shared a selfie — sporting bright blue eyeshadow (which totally brings out her eyes, if we may say so ourselves) — and captioned the snap, “I’m attracted to… people! [Gender is whatever].”
Can I get an amen?
The next day — on the heels of coming out on Instagram — Phillippe also shared a Story saying, “I can [and] will block profiles commenting bigoted/hateful messages under my posts. My Instagram profile is not a place for cruelty/hate speech [and] I intend to keep it that way.” Double amen to that.
Despite having been raised in the public eye (and being fairly open on social media), little has been known about Phillippe’s love life up until this point. In June of 2021, she did share a rare photo with boyfriend Owen Mahoney on Instagram, whom she’d been dating since 2019. But the picture has since been deleted, which makes me wonder if the pair’s together these days. (That said, both Phillippe and her mom still follow Mahoney on Instagram. So! TBD!)
Outside of leaving heart-eyed emojis on Phillippe’s photo with Mahoney, Witherspoon hasn’t openly commented on her daughter’s sexuality or relationship status. She has, however, expressed pride in Phillippe’s desire to find her own path.
“Ava is so down-to-earth,” Witherspoon told InStyle in November 2021. “She wants to do great things in the world. She's studying and learning and trying to find herself. It's a big thing in life to try different things and figure out what is really your path.”
In a 2020 interview with Variety, Witherspoon also shared that, “No one spoke to me about sexuality when I was a teenager.”
“I didn’t understand what homosexuality was,” she continued. “My grandparents didn’t explain it; my parents didn’t explain it. I had to learn from somebody I met on an audition in Los Angeles.”
From the sounds of it, Witherspoon has raised her children to have a more nuanced and in-depth understanding of sexuality and gender, though. And we love to see it.