Renée Zellweger’s new film Judy, which is based on the last days of July Garland, is set to premiere this week. The actress, who won an Oscar for Cold Mountain and was nominated for Nurse Betty and Chicago, has stayed out of the spotlight for the past few years.
Zellweger, who turned 50 last April, had been relatively withdrawn from the film industry until recently. The actress enjoyed a string of successes from her mid-20s to her late 30s, yet spent much of her 40s away from Hollywood. After the release of My Own Love Song in 2009, she took a six-year hiatus from screen acting in order to take time to "go away and grow up a bit."
Now, the Bridget Jones actress is back with a role that could easily earn her another Academy Award. If she were to win, she could certainly savor the moment much more than in her earlier days. “I don’t remember most of my 30s. Sounds like a joke but it’s true,” she told CBS Sunday Morning. “It just feels compressed. It just happened like that.”
Her time away from Hollywood allowed the Texan a chance to focus on herself and to be more selective with projects. “I didn’t want that to happen again,” she said. “I was repeating myself. I was tired of myself.”
Zellweger returned to acting in 2014, yet she was suddenly met with a barrage of rumors about her supposed plastic surgery. “I don’t think anybody’s born with the facilities to navigate those waters,” she said. “I like normalcy, I like genuine exchanges with people. Fame] enters the room before you do. And so any perception that someone has of who you might be, that’s who they meet.”
Now, she thinks she should have enjoyed herself more when she was younger, rather than working so hard. Despite some regrets, she says her new role as Judy Garland has been the “most fun” part she has played in a long time. The film, which features Zellweger singing many of Garland’s songs, focuses on the actress in the last year of her life as she battles drug addiction and arrives in London to perform shows at the Talk of the Town nightclub.
At the film’s premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, Zellweger received two standing ovations for her performance. On Twitter after the premiere, critics called her starring role as “a towering performance that leaves you with shivers down the spine.”
The actress has been in a relationship with Doyle Bramhall II, who is a musician, songwriter, and producer, since 2012. She was previously engaged to Jim Carrey from 1999 to 2000 and married to singer Kenny Chesney for four months before the couple obtained an annulment.