Reese Witherspoon on being called "washed up"

Award-winning actress talks about some tough years and reading she was "washed up" in The New Yorker before she made her comeback

The Oscar-winning actress has overcome a lull in her career by taking matters into her own hands and starting a successful production company
The Oscar-winning actress has overcome a lull... 01:44

She won the Academy Award for "Walk the Line." She was a successful actress married to a successful actor. It was the peak of Reese Witherspoon's career, but then her life and her career drifted downhill. The award-winning actress talks about that trying period in her life - especially seeing herself on a list of "washed up" actors -- and the success she found after starting a production company. Charlie Rose profiles Witherspoon on the next edition of 60 Minutes, Sunday Dec. 21 at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT.

Her divorce from husband Ryan Phillippe, who played roles in high-profile films like "Gosford Park" and "Flags of our Fathers," made her sad for a long time. "I spent, you know, a few years just trying to feel can't really be very creative when you feel like your brain is scrambled eggs."

Along with the failed marriage came a trying time in her career, during which she made films like "This Means War" and "How Do You Know," movies that did not draw as well as her earlier films. "I was just kind of floundering career-wise...I wasn't making things I was passionate about," she tells Rose. "And it was really clear that audiences weren't responding to anything I was putting out there."

A low point came when she was surprised to find herself among a group of actors who the author of a 2012 article in The New Yorker wrote were no longer big stars. "Yeah. I was one of them," she laughs. "I thought I was reading, like, a profile on another actor. Then somewhere down at the end, it said... 'The people who are washed-up,' -- I mean, it really hurt my feelings. Really hurt my feelings," recalls Witherspoon.

Rose's profile of Witherspoon includes an interview with veteran Hollywood producer Bruna Papandrea, with whom Witherspoon formed production company "Pacific Standard" three years ago. They produced "Gone Girl," which has made over $300 million at the box office so far. She is currently starring in the acclaimed film "Wild."

Rose also meets the actress in Tennessee at a house she is renovating and speaks with her mother, Betty, whom Witherspoon says has been an emotional and creative inspiration.