Reese Witherspoon on breaking free from an abusive relationship

Reese Witherspoon broke free from an abusive relationship at a young age, which she says helped her become the person she is today.

The actress, 41, says she suffered “verbal” and “psychological” abuse from an undisclosed tormentor before she ultimately managed to sever ties once and for all.

“It changed who I was on a cellular level, the fact that I stood up for myself,” Witherspoon told Oprah Winfrey and Mindy Kaling during a recent sit-down interview for O, The Oprah Magazine.

“It’s part of the reason I can stand up and say, ‘Yes, I’m ambitious.’ Because someone tried to take that from me,” she explained.

Witherspoon’s poignant story came in response to Winfrey asking what the “most difficult decision” she’s ever had to make to achieve her destiny was.

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NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 01: Actress Reese Witherspoon is seen on November 1, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by UMV/Star Max/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 01: Ava Phillippe and Reese Witherspoon during the WSJ Magazine 2017 Innovator Awards at Museum of Modern Art on November 1, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Gonzalo Marroquin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 16: Actress Reese Witherspoon arrives at ELLE's 24th Annual Women in Hollywood Celebration at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on October 16, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 16: Reese Witherspoon (L) and Ava Phillippe attend ELLE's 24th Annual Women in Hollywood Celebration presented by L'Oreal Paris, Real Is Rare, Real Is A Diamond and CALVIN KLEIN at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on October 16, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for ELLE)
Reese Witherspoon during filming of the Graham Norton Show at the London Studios, to be aired on BBC One on Friday evening. (Photo by Isabel Infantes/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21: Reese Witherspoon attends the 'Home Again' special screening at The Washington Mayfair Hotel on September 21, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Actress Reese Witherspoon poses in the press room at the 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 17, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Reese Witherspoon attends the HBO's Official 2017 Emmy After Party at The Plaza at the Pacific Design Center on September 17, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by C Flanigan/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - SEPTEMBER 17: The cast of Big Little Lies, Shailene Woodley, Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, and Zo�Kravitz at the 69TH PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS, LIVE from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles Sunday, Sept. 17 (8:00-11:00 PM, live ET/5:00-8:00 PM live PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Trae Patton/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 15: Actress Reese Witherspoon is seen on September 15, 2017 in Los Angeles, California (Photo by SMXRF/Star Max/GC Images)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE WITH ANDY COHEN -- Pictured: Reese Witherspoon -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0732 -- Pictured: Actress Reese Witherspoon during an interview on September 7, 2017 -- (Photo by: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 07: Reese Witherspoon seen on the streets of Manhattan on September 7, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - Reese Witherspoon is a guest on 'Good Morning America,' Thursday, September 7, 2017 on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images) REESE WITHERSPOON
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 06: Reese Witherspoon attends The Cinema Society with Elizabeth Arden & Lindt Chocolate host the after party for Open Road Films' 'Home Again' at The Skylark on September 6, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jared Siskin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 29: Actress Reese Witherspoon attends the premiere of 'Home Again' at Directors Guild of America on August 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 29: Reese Witherspoon and Ava Elizabeth Phillippe attend the premiere of Open Road Films' 'Home Again' on August 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/ WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 25: Actress Reese Witherspoon arrives at HBO 'Big Little Lies' FYC at DGA Theater on July 25, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic for HBO)
D23 EXPO 2017 - Saturday, July 15, 2017 - The Ultimate Disney Fan Event - brings together all the worlds of Disney under one roof for three packed days of presentations, pavilions, experiences, concerts, sneak peeks, shopping, and more. The event, which takes place July 14-16 at the Anaheim Convention Center, provides fans with unprecedented access to Disney films, television, games, theme parks, and celebrities. (Image Group LA / Disney via Getty Images) MINDY KALING, OPRAH WINFREY, REESE WITHERSPOON
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 28: Reese Witherspoon is seen on June 28, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 23: Reese Witherspoon is seen on June 23, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 08: Actress Reese Witherspoon attends the AFI Life Achievement Award gala at Dolby Theatre on June 8, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - MAY 04: Kate Hudson and Reese Witherspoon at the Goldie Hawn And Kurt Russell Honored With Double Star Ceremony On The Hollywood Walk Of Fameon May 4, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 01: Reese Witherspoon attends 'Rei Kawakubo/Commes Des Garcons: Art of the In-Between', the 2017 Costume Institute Benefit at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 1, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 01: Reese Witherspoon attends the 'Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art Of The In-Between' Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 1, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for People.com)
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“I drew a line in the sand, and it got crossed, and my brain just switched,” Witherspoon says in a filmed segment. “I couldn’t go any further. I was really young, and it was profound.”

Witherspoon, Winfrey and Kaling star together in next month’s film adaptation of “A Wrinkle In Time,” which hits theaters March 9. The movie is based off the 1962 fantasy novel written by Madeleine L’Engle.

The trio also discussed the empowering Time’s Up movement that launched earlier this year and continues to sweep the globe.

“I think our culture’s more alive and vibrant than it’s ever been,” Witherspoon said. “We’re waking ideas that have been dormant for a long time, and it’s terrifying and thrilling. Social media has opened up a conversation that was not possible even 10 years ago. Women are talking about things they’ve never spoken about, and they’re actually being heard.”

Witherspoon came forward at an Elle Women in Hollywood event in October to reveal she’d been sexual assaulted by a male director when she was 16 years old, adding that it wasn’t the only time she’s experienced sexual harassment or assault in her career.

She said at that event that she wanted to tell her story after so many other women came forward with their experiences with sexual misconduct.

“After hearing all the stories these past few days and hearing these brave women speak up tonight about things that we’re kind of told to sweep under the rug and not to talk about, it’s made me want to speak up and speak up loudly because I actually felt less alone this week than I have ever felt in my entire career,” Witherspoon said at the time, according to Deadline.

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The March issue of O, The Oprah Magazine comes out on Feb. 13.

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