"Right around Christmastime, I was sitting in a parking lot and I felt like I just couldn't get out of the car," Witherspoon told Elle magazine of her split from Phillippe last year.
"I thought, 'Okay, half of the parking lot has dealt with this,'" she recalled. "Okay, let's make it a little bigger. Half of this city has dealt with this. Okay, let's make it a little bigger -- half of this country...' Until I finally got out of the car."
The Oscar-winning mother of two compared the experience to a scene in her 2005 Johnny Cash bio-picture, "Walk the Line."
"There's this moment in 'Walk the Line' where June Carter says, 'I was never aware of how much I was seen.' I was very aware of how much I was seen. It was this moment of self-discovery and loss of identity and who was stepping out of the car, you know? Who is that person?"
2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]