Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon was born on March 22, 1976 at Southern Baptist Hospital (now Memorial Medical Center) in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is the second child of Mary Elizabeth Betty (Reese) and Dr. John Draper Witherspoon, Sr. Her father was a military surgeon specializing in ear, nose and throat. Her mother was a Registered Nurse who later became a Ph.D in pediatric nursing. Reese spent the first four years of her life in Wiesbaden, Germany, where her father served as a lieutenant colonel in the US Army reserves. Shortly after, John moved the family back to the States, settling in Nashville, Tennessee. Reese was introduced to the entertainment industry at a very early age. At age 7, she began modeling. This led to appearances on several local television commercials. At age 11, she placed first in a Ten-State Talent Fair.