As Joan Didion put it, we tell ourselves stories in order to live. We are always looking for ways to make nonsensical things make sense, for there to be good in the most evil of circumstances, and for the child of two celebrities to be identical to the more famous parent in order to get clicks for our little websites.
Such is the case with Ava Phillippe, daughter of Ryan Phillippe and Reese Withersoon. At least once a fiscal quarter we are inundated with stories about how the 22-year-old model (?) could be mistaken for her mother’s sister. This is a testament both to how well Witherspoon has aged and to the fact that Ava is blonde with a strong chin.
On Sunday night, mother and daughter attended the premiere of Sing 2, in which Witherspoon plays a pig named Rosita. Like clockwork, we were bombarded with the headlines. “Reese Witherspoon walks ‘Sing 2’ red carpet with lookalike daughter Ava,” declared Page Six. “Reese Witherspoon, 45, and daughter Ava Phillippe, 22, look more like sisters as they light up the red carpet for premiere of Sing 2 in LA,” stated the Daily Mail. E! Online noted that the two looked “remarkably similar.”
The two do look alike. I would never say that they don’t. But just for comparison, here is a picture of Ryan Phillippe speaking before the Senate Special Committee on Aging in 2017.
Notice the roundness of the face, the features huddled closer together, the small eyes. All of that got copied and pasted onto both Ava and her brother, Declan. Were I to be testifying under oath, I would admit that Ava looks more like Ryan than Reese, lest I perjure myself.
Let me be clear: this is the sole arena in which I think Ryan Phillippe deserves some recognition. I don’t think he’s a particularly good actor, and it seems as though he’s a pretty bad guy in his personal life. But one thing can — nay, must — be said about him: he has some very strong genes.