Ryan Phillippe Opens Up About Fame Anxiety

04/20/2008 at 08:25 AM EDT

Ryan Phillippe Opens Up About Fame Anxiety
Ryan Phillippe
Michael Loccisano/FilmMagic
Ryan Phillippe admits that he was not prepared for the whirlwind of attention that would follow marrying Reese Witherspoon.

Phillippe, 33, speaking to Britain's The Times Magazine while promoting his Iraq war film, Stop-Loss, refused to talk about his friendship with costar Abbie Cornish but he did hint at the problems of a high-profile marriage.

"I fooled myself into believing it would be easier than it was. To have people speculating constantly about the state of your relationship, casting aspersions and telling lies ... It took more of a toll than I was immediately aware of," he told the magazine.

A downside of the fame, he revealed to the Times, was an attitude toward photographers that has rubbed off on daughter Ava. "She's aware and it creates in her a lot of anxiety, which is partly my fault. When Ava was very young, I was young too. I'd get ... visibly angry at the paparazzi back then," he said. "She was my first child, and my instinct was to protect her."

He added that son Deacon is not affected in the same way. "Mainly because since his birth I've realized that you've got to make it seem like less of a big deal. Ava to this day, though ... It breaks my heart to think about it, hearing her say, 'My friends at school saw a picture of me in a magazine and they made fun because I was carrying a blanket.' "

Still, Phillippe has found a way to use the attention for good purposes – by wearing shirts with charity Web sites he supports, such as Children's Defense and Africare, "because these pictures go around the world and untold numbers of people see them. One organization told me their web hits went up 2,000 percent overnight after one such image was syndicated."

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