Even though every kid has to leave the nest, Reese Witherspoon wasn’t prepared when she had to send her 19-year-old daughter, Ava Phillippe, off to university for the first time.

“My daughter’s finishing her first year of college,” Reese, 43, told Ellen DeGeneres on the May 20 episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “It’s weird when your children go away to college. It’s hard. I never imagined how it felt for my mom. I might have gone into her empty room, laid down on her bed and cried when she went to college.”

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Reese explained that not having Ava at home anymore made her feel very sad, but as long as she told herself her daughter was eventually going to return, she would feel better. “It’s OK, she’s coming back,” Reese shared. “I thought she would be gone.”

However, when the Big Little Lies actress went off to college for the first time, she didn’t return home as quickly as she planned. “I never came back,” Reese admitted. “I went to college for one year and then I started making movies and I moved to L.A. and I never came back. Sorry, mom. My poor mom.”

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Even though Reese was on her way to becoming a big Hollywood star, her mom, Betty Reese, never felt comfortable with her quitting school.

“My mom was so mad at me that I dropped out of college because she wanted me to be a doctor, specifically a plastic surgeon,” she said. “My dad was an ear, nose and throat surgeon, but my mom was really determined for me to be a plastic surgeon. She was mad about it for probably ten years, but then I bought her a house and she got over it. At a certain point, it turned into a better deal.”

Can you imagine what Legally Blonde would have been like if Reese never decided to become an actress?! We shudder at the thought.