Reese Witherspoon admits that she feels guilty for not coming forward earlier about her sexual assault experience at the hands of a director when she was just 16-years old. She revealed that at the time, silence was very important in her line of work.

In a joint interview with Jennifer Aniston, the 43-year-old Oscar-winning actress stated that she "felt guilt for not speaking up earlier" about what happened to her. It took her over a decade to share her story and she did so at the height of the Times Up campaign and the #MeToo movement.

In 2017, Witherspoon revealed her experience during a speech at the Elle Women in Hollywood event. She reflected on the problems women in the industry faced, including sexual harassment, assault, and abuse. She opened up about the first of the many incidents of harassment and assault she experienced throughout her career.

"[I feel] true disgust at the director who assaulted me when I was 16 years old and anger at the agents and the producers who made me feel that silence was a condition of my employment. And I wish that I could tell you that was an isolated incident in my career, but sadly it wasn't," The Guardian quoted Witherspoon from her speech.

The "Big Little Lies" actress did not name the director,, but revealed in her interview that the person is no longer working in the industry. She also admitted that after the first incident, she has had multiple experiences of assault and harassment that she does not speak about very often.

Now, hearing similar stories about her experience makes her "really upset" and makes her feel extreme anger. But it also encourages her to tell more stories about it because for her, "art is the best antidote." When asked about how her experience personally affected her, the "Legally Blonde" star shared that it made her determined not to let it happen to other young women.

Witherspoon also praised those who were brave enough to speak up about their experience of sexual assault and harassment and who lost their jobs in return for breaking their silence. She thinks they are the "real heroes."

SAG Awards 2018
Reese Witherspoon at SAG Awards 2018 Getty