updated 01/04/2012 AT 5:15 PM ET
•originally published 01/04/2012 AT 4:00 PM ET
When Reese Witherspoon was hit on by a “really drunk guy” one night at a pal’s party, she never guessed that the “jerk’s” behavior would somehow lead to meeting her future husband.
But it was, in fact, Jim Toth who rescued the actress.
“I remember thinking … Jim was a really good friend, pulling [his drunk pal] out of that situation. That’s just kind of who he is, a really good person.”
Before meeting her CAA talent agent hubby, Witherspoon admits she was a “totally different person,” explaining that she lived a life of fear and sadness, following her 2006 divorce filing from ex-husband Ryan Phillippe.
“I used to be afraid to travel and afraid to leave my house, afraid to leave my kids – that something horrible was going to happen,” she says. And her past emotional hardships have only made her appreciate the present that much more.
[Jim] really surprised me,” she says. “You don’t know who you’re going to end up with. When I was 20, if you’d asked me … I wouldn’t have said Jim.”
Among Toth’s qualities, Witherspoon admires his caring soul.
“Jim’s like, ‘I’m gonna show you every day what a good partner is, what a good person is,’ ” she says. ” ‘I’m going to take care of you. I’m going to do it so much that you’re gonna get used to it.’ I was like, ‘What are you talking about? I’ve never had anybody like that in my life.’ ”