Renee Zellweger Explains Her Years Hiatus From Hollywood

Renee Zellweger in Judy, as Judy Garland
(Image credit: (BBC Films))

A comeback for Renée Zellweger is upon us. The actress famous for Chicago, Bridget Jones’s Diary and ‘90s classic Jerry Maguire may have found Oscar contention with her upcoming role as showbiz legend Judy Garland in Judy. Zellweger has also joined the world of streaming originals with Netflix thriller series What/If. But remember when the actress left Hollywood for six full years?

Her career suffered a series of flops in the form of her involvement in Bee Movie, Leatherhead, Appaloosa, My One and Only and Case 39 all squished together in three years. After the 2010 release of My Own Love Song in 2010, she wouldn’t star in another film for years. Here’s why, in her words:

I wasn’t healthy. I wasn’t taking care of myself. I was the last thing on my list of priorities.

Renée Zellweger recently opened up to New York Magazine about the hiatus ahead of the release of her high-profile drama. While her acting achievements went dark between 2010 and her 2016 comeback in Bridget Jones's Baby, she calls the period an “important time” for her growth. She was craving “normalcy” and a life away from the public eye. She continued:

[My therapist] recognized that I spent 99 percent of my life as the public persona, and just a microscopic crumb of a fraction in my real life. I needed to not have something to do all the time, to not know what I’m going to be doing for the next two years in advance. I wanted to allow for some accidents. There had to be some quiet for the ideas to slip in.

Renée Zellweger also talked about a helpful run-in she had with her friend and fellow actress Salma Hayek at the time. She told the magazine following about her and Hayek’s exchange:

She shared this beautiful … metaphor? Analogy? ‘The rose doesn’t bloom all year … unless it’s plastic.’? I got it. Because what does that mean? It means that you have to fake that you’re okay to go and do this next thing. And you probably need to stop right now, but this creative opportunity is so exciting and it’s once-in-a-lifetime and you will regret not doing it. But actually, no, you should collect yourself and, you know … rest.

What an amazing way to look at it! While many actors certainly keep going non-stop from role to role for an entire career, it’s likely not in the best interest of their mental health if they’re not paying close attention to it. It took Renée Zellweger a kick from her therapist to realize she needed to get off the fame train for a few years.

The actress is now coming back to the spotlight in a big way with her upcoming biopic Judy. Although the subject’s daughter, Liza Minnelli, has shown her distaste with the movie’s existence, the movie has received early praise from critics with more to come after it plays at TIFF next Tuesday, September 10.

Judy follows the triple threat in the final year of her life when she’s in London for a five-week sold out run in London’s Talk of the Town nightclub. Check out Renée Zellweger in the drama in theaters September 27.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.