Reese Witherspoon’s husband, Jim Toth, is a talent agent who stepped in between his future wife and a “really drunk guy” at a party, then swept her off her feet.
The Big Little Lies actress and producer said she and Toth had a “whirlwind” romance. While Toth has never been her talent agent, he represents A-list stars including Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr. and Matthew McConaughey for Creative Artists Agency, where Witherspoon is a client.
Toth encouraged Witherspoon to take on more behind-the-camera roles, such as on Big Little Lies. Witherspoon is one of the executive producers on the show. Big Little Lies Season 2 premieres on HBO tonight at 9 ET.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Reese Witherspoon And Husband Jim Toth Had a Whirlwind Romance
A “really drunk guy” at a party served as an unintentional wingman for Toth. Witherspoon and Toth were at a party at a friend’s house when she got some unwanted attention, she told Elle.
“It happened out of the blue,” she said. “This really drunk guy was hitting on me, making such an idiot of himself, yelling at me. He was like, [slurring, scowling, pointing finger in her face] `You don’t know me.’ And I was like, `Yeah, I know. I don’t know you!’ Jim came over and said, `Please excuse my friend. He’s just broken up with someone.’ Jim was a really good friend, pulling him out of that situation. That’s just kind of who he is, a really good person.”
She had been through a recent breakup herself, with actor Jake Gyllenhaal. After her divorce in 2006, she wasn’t planning on getting married again when she met Toth.
“Jim said, `I’m gonna show you every day what a good partner is, what a good person is. I’m going to take care of you. I’m gonna do this so much that you’re gonna get used to it,’” Witherspoon told Elle. “I was like, `What are you talking about?’ I’ve never had anybody like that in my life.”
The couple married in March 2011 at a private ceremony at her ranch in Ojai, California, according to People. They were engaged only about three months earlier in December. The couple started dating in January 2010.
A friend told People Witherspoon fell for Toth in part because of his maturity. He described Toth as someone “who’s more mature and in a place in his life where he’s ready to settle down,” says the source. “The relationship happened very fast. I think for the first time in a very long time, she feels as if she’s with a grown-up.”
While her life might look picture perfect, she wants her fans to know she is still a normal person.
“I want to not perpetuate any more of this kind of garbage that’s out there in the media about women falling in love blindly,” Witherspoon told Elle. “No one’s life is perfect, and I’m sick of whatever tabloid stuff or this or that story tries to portray. My life is just as realistic as everybody else’s. Whoever thinks someone has a perfect life, I’m so eager to dispel that.”
2. Toth Is An Agent for A-List Clients
Toth is a talent agent for A-list clients like Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr. and Matthew McConaughey. He works for Creative Artists Agency, where Witherspoon is a client.
The balance of star familiarity without star status was also a bonus in the relationship for Witherspoon. He feels comfortable around celebrities, but isn’t recognizable on the street.
“She loves that he’s not a celebrity,” her friend told People. “She always felt that she and Jake had so much heat on them from the press, but with Jim things have not been as crazy. They’ve been left alone to get to know each other in a more private way.”
Friends told People early on in their relationship that Toth was a ladies man who seemed to fall quickly for Witherspoon.
“He’s always saying ‘my girlfriend this, my girlfriend that.’ He’s really into her,” said a longtime friend of Toth. “He used to be such a player, but he’s treating her like gold. He’ll do anything for Reese.”
Toth Helped Found Cancer Charity After Losing Father
Toth helped to found a cancer charity, Stand Up to Cancer, after losing his father.
“My husband lost his father to cancer seven years ago,” Witherspoon told People in 2016. “And it has been his mission to raise money for SU2C and raise awareness about early detection and cancer research.”
Toth and Witherspoon served as co-chairs for the Stand Up to Cancer N.Y.C.’s Standing Room Only event in 2016.
Toth took the podium to acknowledge his father’s memory with a bit of humor, according to People.
“My father, the inspiration for this evening, is truly looking down and saying, ‘How the hell is he here doing this?’ ” he said from the podium.
He added, “And as much as he irritated me, I surely never envisioned life without my father. That’s why I’m here. His fight with lung cancer was brief, only eight months, and when he passed away, my only emotion was anger… at that point in my life, I realized I needed to turn it into a positive.”
While Witherspoon never met her husband’s father, she said he helped shape Toth into the man she loves.
“He was a real guy’s guy, which is how my husband is, too. His guy friends are really close to him in life, so that’s nice.”
Toth is from Pennsylvania.
4. He Encouraged Her to Step Into Production
Witherspoon isn’t just an actress on Big Little Lies, she’s also one of the executive producers. She told Harpers Bazaar producing was something she would have shied away from earlier in life.
Toth was the first person who suggested she start producing films.
“He said, ‘You should produce movies. You read more books than anybody I know. You should just buy some of them and turn them into films,’ ” she said.
Season 2 has a female director, Andrea Arnold, for all seven episodes.
5. Toth is ‘Patient And Funny’ With Their Kids
Shortly after their wedding, Witherspoon and Toth announced they were expecting their first child. She gave birth to a baby boy, Tennessee James Toth, on September 27, 2012, according to Country Living. She also has two children from her first marriage to Ryan Phillippe, Ava and Deacon.
Witherspoon told People Toth is a wonderful father.
“He’s an incredible man, a wonderful organizer, a great leader. He knows how to get people together. He’s very patient and funny with the kids. And he really encourages them to see the humor in life.”
She loves sharing photos of her husband with her children on Instagram. On Father’s Day 2018, she wrote, Happy #FathersDay to the greatest dad, who always makes time to give big bear hugs, supportive pep talks, and a few golf tips! We love you JT !”
On his birthday, Witherspoon wrote, “Happy birthday to the best husband, friend and father in the world !! I love you JT. (and you make me laugh EVERYday! What’s better than that?!”