Renee Zellweger: Why I Took a Six-Year Break From Hollywood

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Renee Zellweger Eamonn McCormack/WireImage

She’s back and better than ever! Renée Zellweger revealed in the July issue of British Vogue why she took a six-year hiatus from Hollywood.

The 47-year-old actress starred in a string of famous films throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, but hasn’t acted since her 2010 role in My Own Love Song. She said the break was key if she was going to continue making movies. “I found anonymity, so I could have exchanges with people on a human level and be seen and heard, not be defined by this image that precedes me when I walk into a room,” the Oscar winner told the magazine. “You cannot be a good storyteller if you don’t have life experiences, and you can’t relate to people.”

The Chicago star explained that turning down amazing opportunities was difficult, but she needed time to recuperate and focus on herself. “As a creative person, saying no to that wonderful once-in-a-lifetime project is hard. But I was fatigued and wasn’t taking the time I needed to recover between projects, and it caught up with me,” she said. “I got sick of the sound of my own voice: It was time to go away and grow up a bit.”

Renée Zellweger in ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary.’

Now, she’s making her return to the spotlight with three projects in production this year — including Bridget Joness Baby, the highly anticipated third installment in the beloved series, which hits theaters in September. Zellweger reportedly gained about 20 to 30 pounds for the first two films, and she’s packed on the pounds again to play the average-size character. “I put on a few pounds. I also put on some breasts and a baby bump. Bridget is a perfectly normal weight and I’ve never understood why it matters so much,” she said of the criticism she’s faced for changing her body to play a part. “No male actor would get such scrutiny if he did the same thing for a role.”

She will also star in the film The Whole Truth alongside Keanu Reeves and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, which is scheduled to be released this year, and in the movie Same Kind of Different as Me, to be released in 2017. 

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