Doyle Bramhall and Renee Zellweger on December 20, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Credit: Splash News

Renee Zellweger's recent romance may be new, but her close bond with boyfriend Doyle Bramhall III spans more than two decades.

The Bridget Jones's Diary actress, 42, and the guitarist, 44, have known each other since Zellweger's days as a University of Texas coed in 1990. "They didn't date then," a source says in the Jan. 7 issue of Us Weekly.

Over the years, the Texas natives often ran into each other in L.A., and they eventually made a date in the summer of 2012 for a proper catch-up. (Bramhall previously dated singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow.)

"Things went from there," the source tells Us. "Renee's really happy and has a new life."

Until 2011, Zellweger was in a two-year relationship with her Case 39 costar Bradley Cooper. The actress' other ex-boyfriends include Dan Abrams, Jack White and Jim Carrey (with whom she was briefly engaged). Zellweger was married to singer Kenny Chesney in 2005; it was annulled after four months.