"IT IS the moment Reese Witherspoon has studiously avoided, the slip of the tongue that sends the Academy Award-winning actor almost diving under a table to hide her embarrassment.
"I usually take movies based on scripts and who I'll be working with," she says earnestly of her latest comedy, Four Holidays.
"And the main reason I did this movie was to work with Jake."
Problem No.1: Four Holidays co-stars Vince Vaughn.
Problem No.2: Jake Gyllenhaal is the boyfriend Witherspoon has so carefully steered clear of mentioning for the past half hour. She cringes visibly.
"Oh my God, I am so embarrassed," she says, emerging from beneath the tablecloth.
"The main reason I wanted to make this movie was to work with Vince because he's so funny and so great."
Then she is quick to regain some composure.
"Jake is funny, too," she adds.
"Am I not talking about Jake? Jake, Jake, Jake."
And, having opened what she refers to as "this can of worms", 32-year-old Witherspoon then has little choice, but to allow a few tidbits to escape.
After keeping their romance under wraps as long as possible, Witherspoon and Gyllenhaal were photographed holidaying in cities such as Rome, but neither has spoken at length publicly about the relationship.
Witherspoon doesn't plan to start now, but does reveal she and Gyllenhaal have "no other plans than just to be happy".
"We're very happy; all is well," she says, and by now she is the confident, in-control movie star again. Does Gyllenhaal get on well with her children?
"Um, yeah. I mean -- yeah," is all she will say".