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Reese Witherspoon cried in daughter Ava's room when Ava left for college

No "Big Little Lies" here: The actress admits she was in tears.
/ Source: TODAY

Reese Witherspoon isn’t quite ready to be an empty nester.

The Oscar-winning actress revealed on Monday’s episode of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” that she bawled when her oldest child left for college.

“It’s weird when your children go away to college. It’s hard,” Witherspoon said when talking about daughter Ava, 19, who's finishing up her first year. “... I might have gone into her empty room, laid down on her bed and cried when she went to college.”

The "Legally Blonde" star and her ex-husband, Ryan Phillippe, are parents to Ava and son Deacon, 15. Witherspoon and her current husband, Jim Toth, have a son, Tennessee, 6.

While Witherspoon, 43, may have been down in the dumps after Ava left for school, she can take heart knowing that children return from college — including Ava. “She’s coming back," she said. "Apparently, the moms here who’ve had kids who’ve gone to college, they come back, right? I thought she’d be gone, but she’s coming back.”

The actress, who will return to the small screen next month in the second season of HBO's "Big Little Lies," wasn’t one of those students who came back, though. She went to college for a year before dropping out because she started landing movie roles, a career move her mother didn't accept.

“My mom was so mad at me that I dropped out of college because she wanted me to be a doctor, specifically a plastic surgeon,” she told DeGeneres.

Witherspoon said her mother eventually moved on from her disappointment, thanks in no small part to her own selfless deed.

“My mom was just really determined for me to be a plastic surgeon,” she said. “And she was mad about it for probably about 10 years, and then I bought her a house and she got over it.”