Connie Britton: I Lost Jerry Maguire Role to Renee Zellweger

Actress Connie Britton arrives at the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 13, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California.  Jason Merritt/Getty Images

"My life started being awesome five years ago," says Connie Britton, 45, in an upcoming New York Times Sunday Magazine profile. But success and stardom could have come much, much earlier.

Britton's breakout role was as Tami Taylor in Friday Night Lights, but she almost broke through a whole decade before that. After reading a Cameron Crowe script she thought she'd be perfect for, she told her agent, "I have two words for you: Jerry Maguire." Britton sailed through the audition and got writer-director Crowe's blessing, but on the day she did a screen-test with Tom Cruise, she was told "they just want to screen-test one other actress." Alas, her breakout role turned into Renee Zellweger's breakout role. "It was heartbreak," Britton tells the magazine. "Maybe I was too tall."

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Mom to a 2-year-old adopted son from Ethiopia, Britton also reveals she had reservations about taking on the role of Rayna, Nashville's "aging country-music star." "Honestly, it was a problem for me…. It was like, the minute I've been referenced in writing as aging, I'm done," she says. "That's not even who I represent as an actor."

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Britton, who is single, also takes issue with the idea of a forty-something woman losing her appeal. "Because frankly I've had a different experience, as a single woman. Younger men and all that…. Let's put it this way: The older you get, the easier it is to date younger men. There are more of them."

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