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Matthew Ryan Phillippe (born September 10, 1974), better known as Ryan Phillippe, is an Americanmarker actor. After appearing on the soap opera One Life to Live he came to fame in the late 1990s starring in a string of films, including I Know What You Did Last Summer, Cruel Intentions and 54. Phillippe's more recent roles include the 2005 Academy Award-winning ensemble film Crash and the 2006 war drama Flags of Our Fathers. In 2007 he starred in Breach, a movie based on the true story of FBI Operative Eric O'Neill who is assigned to shadow and help catch his boss, Robert Hanssen, a spy for the Soviet Unionmarker and Russiamarker, in the act of selling secret material.

Early life

Phillippe was born in New Castle, Delawaremarker, the son of Susan, who ran a day care center in the family's house, and Richard Phillippe, who worked for DuPont. He has three sisters. Phillippe attended New Castle Baptist Academy, where he played basketball and soccer, as well as earned a black belt in Tae Kwon Do; he was also the Yearbook Editor in his senior year. At the age of 15, he became interested in an acting career, inspired by a neighbor's suggestion. A casting agent spotted Phillippe in a barbershop two years later, and began sending him to auditions in New Yorkmarker. At aged 17, Ryan Phillippe worked as a waiter (1-1/2 yrs) at Rascals BBQ & Crab House located in New Castle, Delaware.


Phillippe's acting career began with an appearance in ABC daytime drama One Life to Live. His character Billy Douglas, whom he played from 1992 to 1993, was the first gay teenager on a daytime soap opera, causing quite a stir. After leaving the show, Phillippe moved to Los Angelesmarker, where he appeared in a number of small parts in various television series including Matlock, the tv mini-series The Secrets of Lake Success, and movies, including the 1995 film Crimson Tide and the 1996 film White Squall.

Phillippe was cast in the 1997 horror film, I Know What You Did Last Summer, which co-starred Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Jennifer Love Hewitt. The film was a success, and led to Phillippe gaining wider renown and being cast in a few more high-profile films, including 54 in 1998. In 1999 he starred in Cruel Intentions, a modern retelling of the Choderlos de Laclos novel, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, which also starred Phillippe's future wife, Reese Witherspoon, as well as his I Know What You Did Last Summer co-star, Sarah Michelle Gellar. It was a success among its intended teenage audience, cementing Phillippe's ability to play characters that require sex appeal. Phillippe can also be seen in the Marcy Playground music video "Comin' Up From Behind", which also appears on the film's soundtrack.

In the years following, Phillippe appeared in the crime drama The Way of the Gun, starred as a famed software engineer in the thriller Antitrust, and co-starred in Robert Altman's critically-acclaimed Gosford Park, which featured several of Britainmarker's most respected actors and was nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture. Subsequently, Phillippe had supporting parts in the films Igby Goes Down (2002) and Crash (2005), which won the Oscar for Best Picture. His 2003 film, The I Inside, premiered on cable.

In 2006, Phillippe played real-life Navy corpsman John Bradley in the war film Flags of Our Fathers, directed by Clint Eastwood and following the journey of the United States Marines who lifted the flag at the battle of Iwo Jimamarker. Phillippe has said that the film was the "best experience" of his career because of its "personal meaning" to him, and that he would have "given [his] life" to fight in World War II, noting that both of his grandfathers fought in the war. Phillippe's role was positively received by film critic Richard Roeper, who specified that he thought it was Phillippe's best performance to date. Phillippe's next role was in the thriller Breach, in which he played FBImarker investigator Eric O'Neill opposite Chris Cooper. He has since commented that he believes Cooper to be "the best actor America has to offer". He then starred in several 2007 and 2008 films, including Chaos, in which he plays a police officer, Five Fingers, a drama set in Moroccomarker, Kimberly Pierce's Iraq war film Stop-Loss, and the futuristic story Franklyn. In March 2009, Phillippe began filming the Canadianmarker/South African production The Bang Bang Club, which tells the real-life story of the Bang-Bang Club, four South African photographers whose images documented the bloody end of apartheid. Phillippe stars as Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Greg Marinovich. The film is set for a 2010 release.

Phillippe and his long-time friends Breckin Meyer, Seth Green, and David E. Siegal run a production company called Lucid Films. Phillippe is becoming more actively involved in his films as a producer.

Personal life

In 1997, Phillippe attended a party given for actress Reese Witherspoon's 21st birthday. Upon meeting Witherspoon, Phillippe was reported to have spent all night talking to the young actress, with Witherspoon telling Phillippe, "I think you're my birthday present." The following morning, Phillippe left Californiamarker to film I Know What You Did Last Summer in North Carolina, and subsequently began a long-distance courtship with Witherspoon by mail, e-mail, and telephone. When Phillippe returned to Los Angelesmarker, the couple continued dating and became engaged in December 1998. The following year, the pair starred in Cruel Intentions together. Phillippe and Witherspoon married on June 5, 1999, in a small ceremony on a plantation near North Charleston, South Carolinamarker.

On September 9, 1999, Phillippe and Witherspoon had a daughter named Ava Elizabeth, after Phillippe's grandmother. Their son, Deacon Reese (named after Phillippe's distant relative, Deacon Phillippe, a baseball player) was born on October 23, 2003. The family resided in a gated community in Brentwoodmarker, Californiamarker.

On October 30, 2006, Phillippe and Witherspoon released a statement announcing that they had decided to formally separate. After over seven years of marriage, Witherspoon filed for divorce from her husband on November 8, 2006, citing irreconcilable differences. In light of the couple's lack of a prenuptial agreement, she requested that the court refuse to grant spousal support to Phillippe, and asked for joint legal custody and sole physical custody of the pair's two children. Phillippe filed for joint physical custody of the children on May 15, 2007, and did not seek any spousal support. The couple's divorce became final October 5, 2007, according to court documents. The couple share joint custody of their children. Phillippe is currently dating Australian actress Abbie Cornish, whom he met in 2006 while filming Stop-Loss.Phillippe is a Philadelphia Phillies , Philadelphia Eagles, Philadelphia Flyers & Philadelphia 76ers fan.


Year Title Role
1995 Crimson Tide Seaman Grattam
1996 White Squall Gil Martin
1997 Nowhere Shad
Little Boy Blue Jimmy West
I Know What You Did Last Summer Barry William Cox
1998 54 Shane O'Shea
Playing by Heart Keenan
Homegrown Harlan Dykstra
1999 Cruel Intentions Sebastian Valmont
2000 The Way of the Gun Parker
2001 AntiTrust Milo Hoffman
Company Man Petrov
Gosford Park Henry Denton
2002 Igby Goes Down Oliver 'Ollie' Slocumb
2003 The i Inside Simon Cable
2005 Crash Officer Tommy Hanson
2006 Flags of Our Fathers John Bradley
Five Fingers Martijn
Chaos Det. Shane Dekker
2007 Breach Eric O'Neill
2008 Stop-Loss SSG Brandon King
2009 Franklyn Jonathan Preest
2010 The Bang Bang Club Greg Marinovich


  1. Ryan Phillippe Biography (1974-)
  2. Ryan Phillippe video interview, August 2007
  3. Ryan Phillippe Steps Out with Abbie Cornish

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