Reese Witherspoon’s mom files suit against her dad for bigamy, gets restraining order

This is a sad and somewhat confusing story about Reese Witherspoon’s parents. Apparently Reese Witherspoon’s dad, John Witherspoon, has remarried at 70 to a 60 year-old woman, but is not yet legally divorced from his first wife, Reese’s mom Mary Elizabeth. Mary Elizabeth and John separated way back in 1996, but they never officially divorced. In January, John remarried a woman named Tricianne Taylor. Now Reese’s mom has filed suit against John for bigamy, requesting that his second marriage be annuled. Mary Elizabeth has also obtained a restraining order against Tricianne, barring her from using the Witherspoon name. Mary Elizabeth claims that John is suffering from dementia and was not even aware of who Tricianne was when she confronted him about it. What’s more is that Tricianne is allegedly taking advantage of John monetarily, and is trying to use the Witherspoon name to obtain loans. Here’s more, from The Daily News:

As Reese Witherspoon awaits the birth of her third child, the actress’ parents are at odds over allegations of bigamy.

The Oscar-winning star’s mother, Mary Elizabeth (Betty) Witherspoon, filed a petition in Tennessee Tuesday against her husband, John Witherspoon, to have his recent marriage annulled, according to The Associated Press.

Betty accuses John of bigamy, saying he can’t be married to a woman named Tricianne Taylor because he is still married to her. John, 70, and Taylor, 60, appeared in a wedding announcement in The Tennessean last month, which said the pair tied the knot on Jan. 14 and plan to have a summer reception in Nashville.

Betty, a 63-year-old nurse at Vanderbilt University hospital, says she is still in love with her husband of 42 years and does not want a divorce. The couple has been separated since 1996, but remains married.

She describes her husband as troubled, having long battled issues with alcohol, infidelity, hoarding and overspending, and believes he is suffering from early onset dementia. According to court documents, Betty thinks John’s new wife may be taking advantage of his mental condition.

“When I confronted my husband, he said he didn’t know who Tricianne Taylor was and that he did not remember getting married,” she said in an affidavit.

The filing alleges Taylor has tried to take out loans as Mrs. John Witherspoon, lives in his condo, has had him sign a new will and drives a vehicle without permission from a family corporation run by Reese Witherspoon, 36.

She also says John tried to bring Taylor to their daughter’s March wedding to talent agent Jim Toth in California, but the woman was refused entry because she was not on the guest list.

[From The NY Daily News]

I can’t imagine the pain of having a parent with dementia. A friend of mine is going through that with her dad. It’s hard for her to talk about but it sounds devastating. It must be even worse to know that someone is taking advantage of your loved one. Good for Reese’s mom for trying to do something about it, if this is all happening like she claims. Reese also must know about it, given that her dad showed up at her damn wedding with his new wife and was turned away.

This isn’t the first story we’ve heard about problems with Reese Witherspoon’s family. Her older brother, John, was arrested in 2002 for sexually assaulting a neighbor. John received two years probation for that incident. Reese later gave him a job working as her assistant on the set of a movie in 2006.

Reese Witherspoon and her dogs

Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon

Reese is shown walking her dogs on 5-4-12 and out running errands earlier that day. Credit: FameFlynet. She’s also shown out with her husband, Jim Toth, outside church on 4-15-12. Credit: She’s shown at an event for Paul McCartney on 4-13-12. Credit: B.Dowling/

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38 Responses to “Reese Witherspoon’s mom files suit against her dad for bigamy, gets restraining order”

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    • brin says:

      Yeah…sad and awful if this is true.

      • DreamyK says:

        Dementia and Alzheimer’s is just awful. Good for Reese’s mom for trying to keep her husband out of trouble. This is just unbelievably sad.

      • the original bellaluna says:

        DreamyK – I used to do in-home care for Alzheimer’s patients, and it is truly difficult. (I cared for one patient exclusively at a time, until she died; then cared for another one until my divorce.) My shift was the 7pm-7am shift.

        It’s AWFUL. These poor women spent most of the night rifling through their drawers, convinced that we (her day & night care-takers) were stealing their jewelry. One of them used to flush her money down the toilet to keep us (and her family, a distant niece) from stealing it. We had to take the knobs off the stove because she would try to cook. We had to watch her constantly because she would eat raw meat, since she couldn’t cook it. It was a constant battle to get her doctor to keep her meds refilled, and when she was off of them, she threatened to shoot me each night because she didn’t remember me. (Thank God she didn’t actually have a gun in the house.)

        The other drank her perfume to keep us from using it. She was also incontinent, and we had to wrestle her into the shower because she so terrified of slipping. She also kept her house at a toasty 85 degrees, year round, and the heat that radiant in-the-whole-ceiling-type heat.

        Alzheimer’s patients frequently forget they have just eaten, thus they want to eat constantly, until towards the end.

        My heart goes out to everyone who is dealing with a family member or relative who has Dementia and Alzheimer’s. They are truly insidious diseases.

  1. sullivan says:

    The Witherspoon family is acutely dysfunctional. Well-to-do southern gothic. “Brother” is also a serious mess. It’s no wonder Reese is bitchy. She may have escaped, but her issues went with her.

  2. LeManda says:

    It’s funny. When you think of Reese you think of squeaky clean family values. Not that I’d ever hold someone’s family against them. I’m just saying I expected she was from some rich, classy, squeaky clean, old-money Southern family.

  3. IrishEyes says:

    Just goes to show… everyone has a family member dealing with something.

  4. Rena says:

    Seems like Reese’s Mom is trying to protect him as it sounds like he probably has dementia of some type.

    This appears to have been going on for a while, and the family has done their best to protect him. A very sad situation for all involved.

  5. Lem says:

    What is her grown husband doing with his jeans, there? Is that a thing now? Are we redoing the 90′s already? Shoot, does this make me old, now?

  6. Talie says:

    Lainey wrote about this (and how her father kept side pieces all over Nashville) when she was trying to win her Oscar–her parents even showed up as a couple!

  7. lucy2 says:

    It sounds like that other woman is trying to take advantage, how sad.
    Some people manage to come out of dysfunction and do a great job with their own families. Reese seems to be doing that, but this all has to be difficult to deal with too.

  8. Neelyo says:

    This reminds me of Meryl Streep’s character in SHE=DEVIL.

  9. Relli says:

    I really feel for Reese, this is a terrible thing to have to go through publicly and this Tricianne woman sounds shady. No wonder she left Ryan, she didn’t want to be like her Mom in a loveless relationship for the rest of her life. Also why despite all the happy new things in her life she looks distracted. Its really hard when you parent’s health starts to deteriorate and you are always worrying about them.

  10. The Original Denise says:

    Why are some bloggers using this sad story to make blanket statements about “southern people”? I am not southern, but I despise intolerance or stereotyping against anyone. This is a terrible situation and Reese needs to step in and assist.

  11. Launicaangelina says:

    I feel for her. I’m pretty together but if you looked at the rest of my family, you’d be really surprised. I have a college degree, a professional job, a healthy and stable relationship, etc.

    I have 3 brothers and 2 sisters. 2 brothers are in prison and the third one just got out. My sisters are drug addicts and alcoholics. My younger sister has an open case with CPS. My parents do well but they are huge enablers.

  12. bluhare says:

    I don’t care if they’re southern, northern or whatever, they all sound a bit tetched.

    First, my dad’s got dementia. It’s no fun at all, I get to miss him before he’s even dead.

    I expect that Reese’s mom will have no issue having the marriage annulled, both on bigamy and sound mind issues, but I wonder why they’ve been separated for almost 15 years and no divorce. Money? It usually is about money. Or religion; don’t know if they’re Catholic though.

    Although reading all this, I guess I can see why Reese is the theoretical subject of some wacky blind items.

    • Mia says:

      “I get to miss him before he’s even dead”

      That’s a blunt but honest way of putting how I feel about my grandmother, who has severe Alzeimer’s. Sending you good thoughts.

    • fabgrrl says:

      I don’t think that Reese’s mom wants to divorce her dad. Quite the opposite. She wants this second “marriage” annulled in favor of her legitimate marriage. Staying married to the men, even if separated, is probably in everyone’s best interest, since it can keep shady drifters from taking advantage of him.

  13. the original bellaluna says:

    What a mess. And how difficult to have to deal with all of it while pregnant.

  14. Shafterella Shoestein says:

    and Toth is just like her father! So basically, she married her father!

  15. InTheIndustry says:

    and the walls are starting to show their cracks……

  16. Just Sayin says:

    I think the mom sounds more shady then the new wife! It seems all she cares about is material things and money! How many years apart and still hanging on? I think there is more to this then they are sayin and putting ALL the crap on the father I will bet the father and new wife are sane and not the other way around!

  17. Mitch says:

    Mother and Daughter Witherspoon are very very wicked women! JD Witherspoon is being thrown through the ringer on this! Brother Witherspoon is just a patsy to his mother and sister! I have no sympathy for Witherspoon and her mother. There is much much more to this story then you all know!

    • Alita says:

      Reece’s brother is a “patsy” for her? So, she was the creeper through the neighbour’s window, and sexually assaulted someone sufficiently for 2 years prison, but he took the blame for her? What, was she wearing a mask and his clothing? Maybe a fake nose?

      Honestly if you want people to believe that you know something we don’t (oooh do tell, etc), then you’re going to have to come up with a less bizzare sounding teaser.

  18. Snowpea says:

    Gosh who would have thunk it? I imagined Reese to come from a lovely, functional home, with a blonde gorgeous mum and a hearty dad. Well, I’ll be.

    My family is all kinda fucked up. My mum has borderline personality disorder, my brother is a bully and a sadist, my sister is mean and sides with my brother. I try and have as little as possible to do with them.

    Only my dad is nice and tries his best to navigate an uncertain path through the family shenanigans.

    I would be happy if I never had to see any of them ever again. Families are messy beasts.

  19. Shoe_lover says:

    dementia is an awful disease. my 85 year old grandfather lives with us because he has severe dementia. it’s been getting a lot worse lately and soon he will have to go into a care facility. someone has to be with him all the time otherwise he will hurt himself or burn the house down. honestly if he was at home alone and burglars came he would not only let them in he would help them load the truck. he has pretty much reverted to childhood as well- typical 5 year old behaviour such as throwing tanty’s when he doesn’t get his own way and being sneaky if he has “done something wrong”. unfortunately the sneakiness comes into effect when he has sh*t all over the floor, toilet seat, toilet bowl and somehow managed to get it on the walls. it’s also a fight to get him to have a shower- if you don’t go in and check on him he will turn the water on and stand behind the bathroom door. He also has no idea who anyone is anymore- he thought my best friend and her boyfriend were my brother and his girlfriend. He has no clue who my cousin is and calls her “the girl” when she come to visit. He is also so obsessed with a game show here and the host (Andrew O’Keefe for any Aussies on here) that he has a photo of him on his wall that he talks to, kisses goodnight and has now started sitting on the bed with him to watch the game show and will say “look darling- that’s you on TV” and was dead set convinced he could just fly down to Melbourne and go to Andrew’s house. dementia is a b!tch and i feel for Reese’s family

  20. VirginiaLolita says:

    I didn’t know that her parents were separated…since 1996! She always talked about her family and parents as if they were still together, i think she even said she looked up to them in the hards days of her marriage with ryan.. ^^
    As said above…it seems that it was just a nice facade.

    Anyway, i have mixed feelings about this story since i’ve read other different details abt it.. It’s seems there’s more here than meets the eyes…Who knows! If it’s true, i hope they fix it soon. It’s would be a horrible situation.

    But on the other hand, that tricianne taylor is said to be the long-time partner of Witherspoon’s father for years and is…60 years old! That doesn’t really look like an “anna-nicole smith golddigger’ case…^^ I don’t know…Especially since her parents have been separated not for months…but for 16 years!
    I’m wondering whether her mother hasn’t refused to divorce (and still is refusing) although the relationship is over, or she maybe wanted to keep up the appearances…or the money!
    Who knows if the father is not having a ‘real normal’ relationship..? Although it absolutely doesn’t excuse the obvious polygamy, but it could explain it.

    But what really bugs me is that John Witherspoon is a surgeon…who’s still practising!! If her mother (who is a nurse and so obviously trained in the medical field) thinks he has dementia then why didn’t she bother to say it before and help protect his patients’ health, but is only doing it now that she wants to cancel a marriage? You don’t get alzheimher overnight!

    Here’s one of the comments in the Tennessean story:
    “The only thing that concerns me is what condition this man was in when he performed surgery on my son March of this year. Did anyone in the medical field his office/nurses/Baptist Surgicare notice he had problems? If so, why did they not come forward and bring this to the proper attention. If it is true what his wife is saying he had no business practicing medicine much less doing surgery. Why did she not care enough to do something about it? She is a nurse and should know if he had the ability to continue doing surgery and prescribing medicine. Lets look at this from another point besides the bigamy and money.”

    So either he’s really ill and she unprofessionnal at best or he’s not, and it’s even worse…

    I don’t know what it is exactly, but there’s definitely something off in this whole story…