The Heartbreaking Reason Renée Zellweger Stopped Acting

When you think about actresses of the early 2000s, there’s a good chance you think about Renée Zellweger. The rom-com queen made a name for herself through cult classics like Bridget Jones’s Diary, Jerry Maguire, and Me, Myself & Irene, but she also proved her range with more serious films Cinderella Man and Miss Potter. 

At the time, you would’ve thought that life couldn’t have been any better for the Oscar-winning actress. But apparently, Zellweger had been dealing with some hardships behind the scenes, which prompted her to retreat from the spotlight.

Renee Zellweger
Renee Zellweger | Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Why Zellweger stopped acting

While Zellweger had been on the scene since the early ‘90s, she basically became a Hollywood sensation after 1996’s Jerry Maguire. It was like, in a blink of an eye, she was everywhere, doing everything. But that level of fame eventually started to weigh on the actress.

She admitted to Vulture in an interview published on Sept. 3 that life became so hectic that she “wasn’t taking care of [herself].” 

“I wasn’t healthy. I wasn’t taking care of myself [and] I was the last thing on my list of priorities,” she explained to the outlet.

In 2010, she stepped away from Hollywood after a series of poorly-received films and performances. Her troubles seemingly only worsened and eventually prompted Zellweger to seek therapy, where she realized she was depressed. 

Her therapist helped her work through her issues

She learned in therapy that she had been living most of her life as “the public persona” and only “a microscopic crumb of a fraction” as herself. 

“[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,” she continued. “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.”

Renee Zellweger
Renee Zellweger | Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Her brief return to the spotlight in 2014

Zellweger reemerged in 2014 for the Elle Women in Hollywood Awards. However, she faced criticism over her speculated plastic surgery.

In response, the actress took aim at critics in a 2016 essay for the Huffington Post, called “We Can Do Better.”

Zellweger, 50, also spoke to Vulture about the distasteful comments that she’s received for her alleged changing appearance.

“It probably gives you a stomachache, asking me about that, doesn’t it? Well, because there’s a value judgment that’s placed on us,” she said. “As if it somehow is a reflection of your character — whether you’re a good person or a weak person or an authentic person.”

“And the implication that I somehow needed to change what was going on because it wasn’t working,” she continued. “That makes me sad. I don’t look at beauty in that way. And I don’t think of myself in that way. I like my weird quirkiness, my offkilter mix of things. It enables me to do what I do.”

Zellweger added that she doesn’t want to be “something else.”

“I got hired in my blue jeans and cowboy boots with my messy hair,” she went on. “I started working like that [and] I didn’t have to change to work. So why was I suddenly trying to fit into some mold that didn’t belong to me?”

Where Zellweger stands now

These days, Zellweger seems to be in better spirits. Additionally, she’s experiencing a bit of a career comeback. She’s the star of Judy, a 2019 biopic about singer and actress Judy Garland. While the film does not hit American theaters until Sept. 27, Zellweger has already earned praise for her performance.

We hope to see her a lot more from here.