Witherspoon owns a production company, Hello Sunshine, a clothing company Draper James, and she is actively involved in children's and women's advocacy organizations.
She serves on the board of the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) and was named Global Ambassador of Avon Products in 2007, serving as honorary chair of the charitable Avon Foundation.
The following year, she starred in the romantic comedy Sweet Home Alabama, which emerged as her biggest live-action commercial success.
In 2005, she portrayed June Carter in Walk the Line, which earned her the Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, BAFTA Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, and Critics Choice Award for Best Actress.
In 2017, she co-produced and starred in the HBO drama series Big Little Lies, for which she received two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie and Outstanding Limited Series, winning the latter as a producer.Witherspoon said about the role, "When I read Legally Blonde, I was like, 'She's from Beverly Hills, she's rich, she's in a sorority. Later that year, she starred with Josh Lucas and Patrick Dempsey in Andy Tennant's film Sweet Home Alabama, where she played Melanie Carmichael, a young fashion designer who intends to marry a New York politician but must return to Alabama to divorce her childhood sweetheart, from whom she has been separated for seven years.Witherspoon regarded this as a "personal role" in that it reminded her of experiences she had when she moved from her hometown Nashville to Los Angeles.The sequel was not as financially successful as the first film and it generated mostly negative reviews.
USA Today considered the movie "plodding, unfunny and almost cringe-worthy", but also noted that "Reese Witherspoon still does a fine job portraying the fair-haired lovable brainiac, but her top-notch comic timing is wasted on the humorless dialogue." In 2004, Witherspoon starred in Vanity Fair, adapted from the 19th-century classic novel Vanity Fair and directed by Mira Nair.Witherspoon does justice to the juicy role by giving the part more buoyancy than naughtiness." At the same time, The Charlotte Observer called her work "an excellent performance that's soft around the edges" and the Los Angeles Times concluded that Becky is "a role Reese Witherspoon was born to play".