Reese Witherspoon used to be no bigger than her man, but one day fate struck, and suddenly she got huge, towering heroically over him. That's the plot of her first animated movie, Monsters vs. Aliens: She supplies the voice for Ginormica, a cartoon superhero who looks kind of like Reese, only 44 feet, 9 inches taller than her actual 5-foot-2.
In real life, Reese also got big fast after marrying Cruel Intentions costar Ryan Phillippe. Until last year, she was the best-paid dame in Hollywood. And now, after what she called a "humiliating" divorce, we're ecstatic that Ryan's replaced in her life by Jake Gyllenhaal, who's bookish like Reese. He reportedly likes it that Reese has been a homebody supermom since age 22, when most actresses are still on the bottle and out on the town. (Did we mention Jake used to date Kirsten Dunst?)
We toast the blissy, brainy couple with our Film.com Fever Chart, which documents the highs and lows of our favorite celebrities. If you think we've left out any highs (or lows), sound off loud in the comments section below!
At age 7, Reese's best friend's grandma decides to make a local TV commercial for her florist's shop. Reese gets the part, launching a billion-dollar career. Temperature: 98.6 degrees
At 11, wins the Ten-State Talent Fair; thinks to herself, "What about the other 40?" Temperature: 98.7 degrees
At 14, has a first kiss on camera in The Man in the Moon, by genius director Robert Mulligan. Roger Ebert and Reese's character say the exact same thing about the kiss: "Perfect." Temperature: 100 degrees
Studies English at Stanford, pleasing straight-arrow parents. Drops out to play another bad girl in the Paul Newman movie Twilight. Spectacularly topless, asks a guy, "Do you love me? I mean, it's OK if you don't." Everybody does, especially nude-scene connoisseurs. Temperature: 102 degrees
After being a promising newcomer in 10 films, steals Election from Matthew Broderick, becomes a star as Tracy Flick, the Girl Who Would Be Class President. In 2008 election, Slate juxtaposes eerily similar Hillary Clinton clips and Election clips in the utterly brilliant video Hillary's Inner Tracy Flick. The New York Times calls Reese "the most determined actress of the 21st century." They're the same person! Temperature: 110 degrees
Drinks a wee bit too much at her 21st birthday party and flirtatiously tells Ryan Phillippe, "I think you're my birthday present." He presents himself. But Reese gets all the presents Hollywood has to offer, and Ryan gets lots less. When they present together at the Oscars, he says, "After you, you make more money than I do." When she gets an Oscar, everyone applauds. When he's in a movie that gets an Oscar (Crash), everybody says Brokeback Mountain should have won. Reese tells Elle, "In every relationship, the person least interested in maintaining it is going to dominate it, because they'll never compromise." Reese and Ryan agree to disagree, permanently. Temperature: 98.6 degrees
Reese hates the way women get dissed in films. She spent years spurning roles in hits like I Know What You Did Last Summer (which star Jennifer Love Hewitt has called I Know What Your Breasts Did Last Summer). But she finally agrees to play an L.A. ditz-turned-Harvard Law star in Legally Blonde, because it reminds her of Goldie Hawn in Private Benjamin, a blonde who discovers her own power. Boy, did Reese discover her own power! About $185 million worth. Temperature: 185 degrees
Blonde ambition pays off even bigger in the infinitely inferior Sweet Home Alabama, even though the only good thing about it is Reese's amazing charm. She plays a glamorous, successful career gal still attached to her loser husband, who proves he's worthy after all. Life did not reflect art, but Reese proved she could make mega-millions even in a bad movie. Like Tom Cruise's Cocktail, that's the true test of stardom. Temperature: 198.6 degrees
Wins all the awards as June Carter Cash in Walk the Line. Another strong-girl-prevails role close to Reese's own heart. Temperature: 122 degrees
Does an anti-terrorism-against-falsely-suspected-terrorists movie whose moral no moral person would argue with, but which nobody wants to see, Rendition. But hey, she got a leading man out of it. Ryan's a fine actor, but he pales next to Jake. And Reese. Temperature: 52 degrees
Produces and costars with Christina Ricci in the stupefyingly ill-conceived Penelope. Is Penelope's porcine proboscis a metaphor for Reese's peculiarly pointy chin? Does the most flawed female beauty to reach the top in recent memory have some issues that made her go for this stinker? Listen, lady, when Goldie Hawn got into producing, she produced Private Benjamin. Ya can't put lipstick on a pig. Temperature: 42 degrees
Becomes a gigantic action hero saving Earth from alien Rainn Wilson in Monsters vs. Aliens, a ginormous 3D movie made by Jeffrey Katzenberg, whom his former friend Michael Eisner called "the little midget." Who's big now? Jeffrey Katzenberg. And Reese Witherspoon. Temperature: 115 degrees