In the late '90s, it felt like you couldn't escape from the glow of the Ryan Phillippe effect; his beautiful, famous face shone like a sun above all of us mere mortals, and we were totally fine with that. Not only did he star in some of the best (IMO) movies of the decade — I Know What You Did Last Summer, Cruel Intentions — but he also married Hollywood golden girl, Reese Witherspoon. And then, a few years later, he vanished from the public eye like a fart in the night, and we were left wondering — how well do we actually know this mysterious god known to all as Ryan Phillippe?
Well, luckily for you we're here to lay Ryan bare for you — unfortunately not literally — and shed a little light on the dark hole that has been our collective life since he's no longer in it.
10 Facts About Ryan Phillippe You Need To Know
1. He Is Widely Recognized As The First Ever Gay Teen On A Daytime Soap
From 1992 to '93, Ryan starred as Billy Douglas in his breakout role on One Life to Live, a character believed to be the first ever gay teenager portrayed on a daytime TV soap opera. The character was portrayed as a hero, standing up to homophobic comments from his father, classmates and the local community!
2. He Has A Black Belt In Taekwondo
You wouldn't want to mess with Ryan Phillippe, he has a black belt in the Korean martial art, Taekwondo! He's been practicing since he was eight-years-old, has competed in tournaments and taught kids! He even gave an — apparently rather hazardous — demonstration to Ellen DeGeneres back in 2010.
3. He Turned Down The Role Of Anakin Skywalker
I'm hardly the biggest Star Wars fan, but should Ryan Phillippe have bagged the highly coveted role of Anakin Skywalker, my younger self would've been so much more into the franchise for, well, obvious reasons. Of course, he lost out to Hayden Christensen, but he did get as far as meeting George Lucas and Queen Amidala herself. He told MTV News in 2008:
"I read with Natalie Portman. I think it was sort of an age thing in their mind. It wasn't quite right, but yeah, they were interested."
4. He's A Father Of Three!
Yep, that's right! Believe it or not, one of your biggest '90s crushes is a daddy thrice over. Two of his children, Ava and Deacon were born from his eight-year marriage to Reese Witherspoon, and his third child, Kailani, from his brief relationship with model/actress Alexis Knapp.
5. He Once Dated Amanda Seyfried
As if partnering with Reese Witherspoon and Alexis Knapp didn't cement his Hollywood Hunk status, Ryan has also been connected to Mean Girls star Amanda Seyfried, Solace's Abbie Cornish and, most recently, 24-year-old law student, Paulina Slagter — though they split in November last year, 10 months after becoming engaged. Although that's deeply sad for both of them, it does however mean Ryan's single again. Silver linings, eh?
6. He'd Prefer To Be A Musician (But Can't Play An Instrument)
OK, so everyone knows that Phillippe starred in the music video for Marcy Playground's "Coming Up From Behind," as it appears on the Cruel Intentions soundtrack, but did you know that he actually considers music his greatest love? So much so that he once stated that, should he actually be able to play an instrument, his professional choice would be a musician.
7. He's Starred In A Number Of Oscar-Nominated Movies
Though Phillippe is mostly known for his portrayal of heartthrobs in '90s movies like Cruel Intentions and I Know What You Did Last Summer, he's appeared in many films that've received Academy accolades. In 2001 he starred in Gosford Park, which was nominated for Best Picture, and 2005's Crash, which actually won Best Picture. Go Ryan!
8. He's Been Battling Depression Since An Early Age
As we're all well aware, growing up in the public eye can take its toll on the most hardy of Hollywood stars, and for Ryan, the attention manifested into depression, something he's struggled with for over 20 years. Thankfully though, thanks to support from Witherspoon, spending time with his kids, and learning about the illness he's more "at peace" with himself. In a candid interview with People last year, he revealed:
“I’m a lot more at peace than I was when I was younger. I struggled much more with depression when I was in my 20s and 30s. I think the amount of reading that I’ve done, the work on myself and the ways that I’ve found to cope are healthier than when I was younger ... I’ve faced every manner of gossip, and I don’t take myself as seriously now. There is a freedom and a release that comes with maturity. I’ve made peace with it. We live in a time where being a private person isn’t really an option anymore. If you want to be relevant, you have to be connected.”
9. He Threw Up On The Set Of Cruel Intentions
Remember the break-up scene between Anette and Sebastian in Cruel Intentions? Yeah? Well Reese and Ryan were already dating at that point, so screaming at each other on-set felt far more real than it would have done otherwise. In fact, the experience stressed him out so much that he had to go spew immediately afterwards:
"Reese and I had a fight scene where we had to say horrible things to each other for four straight hours. After it was all over, I went outside and literally threw up. It was so emotionally punishing for me."
10. He Doesn't Like Most Of His Movies
While we could wax lyrical for days about a lot of Ry's back catalogue — Cruel Intentions, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Igby Goes Down — he thinks most of it is pretty whack, to be frank. He revealed to the LA Times in 2014:
"I've made 30-plus films over 20 years, and in my opinion, five of them are good."
Do you still have the hots for Ryan Phillippe?