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Renee Zellweger Opens Up About How ‘Difficult Transition’ to Fame Affected Her Family

She wants to be an actress, not an A-lister. Renée Zellweger opened up about her “difficult transition” to fame, which started with the Jerry Maguire red carpet two decades ago, in a new interview on Tuesday, September 20.

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During her appearance on Chelsea Handler’s Netflix show (available to stream here), the Bridget Jones’s Baby star said that she loves acting but struggles with her stardom. “I like the job. I really like the job,” she said. “I like to go to a set. I like the camaraderie. Fame is weird to me. It’s not natural. You know, it’s not natural, and you don’t have an opportunity to meet people in a genuine way.” 

Chelsea Handler and Renee Zellweger
Chelsea Handler with Renee Zellweger

Although most would say she’s a bona fide movie star, Zellweger still feels “imposter syndrome” sometimes. “I’m not trained, so I feel like every job I’ve got by accident because I’ve tricked them, and they just haven’t found out yet,” she told Handler.

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The Oscar-winning actress reminisced on her breakout role in the 1996 rom-com Jerry Maguire alongside Tom Cruise, and revealed why the premiere was an “emotional” night for her family.

Renee Zellweger
Renee Zellweger at The BUILD Series in 2016. Debra L Rothenberg/Getty Images

“I remember the night of the Jerry Maguire premiere. I didn’t know what to expect. I had no idea what was about to happen,” she said. “My parents were there. They’re your most important people, so this big film ends and it’s really well-received, then you’re swept away and there’s no more contact with your mom and dad. They’re left there, and you’re moving around, shaking hands and taking pictures, signing things and saying hello. You have responsibilities that don’t include them. It’s like a distancing that they feel like they’re losing you in some way.”

Related: PHOTOS: Stars and Their Moms

Later that night, she had a chat with her parents in the lobby of their hotel. “They were so vulnerable,” she recalled. “It broke my heart. It made it clear to me early on that this was going to be a difficult transition for both of us, really. [My mom] was just teary because she thought she was going to spend this most special night ever with me, and we didn’t have the opportunity to walk around together and share it. I’ve been hyper-aware of it ever since.”

Zellweger also revealed the one piece of advice she would give to herself about her twenties: “Just to have more fun!” she said. “Lighten up and not be afraid to try some stuff.” 

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