It’s been over 20 years since Renée Zellwegerhad us at “Hello,” and so much has changed for the actress.
Since her breakout role in Jerry Maguire she has solidified her spot on the A-list and her name has become more synonymous with rom-coms than Bridget Jones herself.
But Zellweger has also had a somewhat complicated relationship with her own fame. The 2010s were a banner decade for the actress—she starred in Chicago, kicked off the Bridget Jones’ Diary franchise, won an Oscar for Cold Mountain and was nominated for two others. But by the end of the decade she gave it all up.
After starring in My Own Love Song opposite Forest Whitaker, Zellweger stepped away from the spotlight and quit acting for six whole years.
Years later the actress gave some insight to E! News’ Marc Malkinabout what may have been behind, at least in part, her decision to leave the spotlight: She explained that she suffered from what she calls “imposter syndrome,” describing her constant feelings that “This is the time you’re going to be figured out, this is the time you’re going to get fired, for sure.”
“I’m glad folks think I look different,” she told People shortly after the Internet rumors started to run rampant. “I’m living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I’m thrilled that perhaps it shows. My friends say that I look peaceful. I am healthy. For a long time I wasn’t doing such a good job with that. I took on a schedule that is not realistically sustainable and didn’t allow for taking care of myself. Rather than stopping to recalibrate, I kept running until I was depleted and made bad choices about how to conceal the exhaustion. I was aware of the chaos and finally chose different things.”
In her years off-camera she leaned into all of good things in life, including her relationship with musician Doyle Bramhall. It seems that those years were restorative, because in 2016 she decided to fight back even more for the treatment she received, penning a powerful op-ed about the experience.
She also added: “I am not writing today because I have been publicly bullied or because the value of my work has been questioned by a critic whose ideal physical representation of a fictional character originated 16 years ago, over which he feels ownership, I no longer meet…I’m writing because to be fair to myself, I must make some claims on the truths of my life and because witnessing the transmutation of tabloid fodder from speculation to truth is deeply troubling.”