Reese Witherspoon opened up to Oprah Winfrey about leaving an abusive relationship in her past.
The actress, 41, said that making the decision to leave the relationship was the most important one she made to fulfil her destiny, after being prompted by Winfrey during a Super Soul Sunday talk. Witherspoon told Winfrey the abuse was “psychological, verbal”and there was a moment that made her decide to leave.
“A line got drawn in the sand and it got crossed, and my brain just switched and I knew it was going to be very difficult but I just couldn’t go any further,” she said.
Witherspoon continued, “But it was profound, and I was young. Really young. I couldn’t ever be the person I am today — I was a different person, too. It changed who I was on a cellular level, the fact that I stood up for myself.”
The actress, who was also joined by their Wrinkle in Time costar Mindy Kaling for the chat, said that making that decision is what allowed her to become more confident and sure of herself.
“Leaving those situations [isn’t] easy because it’s wrought with self-doubt, particularly if someone damages your self-esteem,” Witherspoon said. “People say to me that knew me then, ‘You’re a completely different person.’ I didn’t have self-esteem, you know? And I’m a different person now. It’s part of why I can stand up and say, ‘Yes, I’m ambitious’ — because someone tried to take that from me before.”
A Wrinkle in Time opens in March.
This article originally appeared on PEOPLE