"We went out to a restaurant in Atlanta, and we had one too many glasses of wine," the Oscar winner and mother of three, 37, said, referring to herself and her husband, agent Jim Toth. After their car, which Toth was driving, was stopped, he was charged with DUI, and she with disorderly conduct.
"We thought we were fine to drive," she said, "and we were absolutely not, and we are so sorry and just so embarrassed." She added, "We know better and we shouldn't have done that."
Blaming "poor judgment" for not simply calling a cab, Witherspoon said, "We made a mistake, and it was something that will absolutely never happen again."
The police report noted that Witherspoon did not follow the officer's orders and she got out of the car, and spoke in abusive language to him.
"I was so disrespectful to him," the actress acknowledged on GMA. "I have police officers in my family. I work with police officers every day. I know better. It's just unacceptable." (Adding a note of levity, she also said, "I played a lawyer in a movie so many times I think I am a lawyer. And clearly I'm not a lawyer, because I got arrested.")
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Telling her older children about the very public incident, she said, was "the hardest part about it. When you make a mistake, you take responsibility, and we are taking responsibility, and we are doing everything within our power to make it right."
Among the biggest lessons she learned, she said: "When a police officer tells you to stay in a car, you stay in a car."