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Renee Zellweger Revealed

Renee Zellweger Revealed

After a year of heartache and tabloid headlines, Renee Zellweger looks ahead to the future in the new issue of Life Magazine. Here are the two more telling questions Renee, 37, answered:

Are you two still friends? I’ll tell you that I was saddened. I’ll tell you that it took . . . it’s, it’s not something I could [reason] away. It’s something that I’ll live through, but I don’t want to talk about it beyond that because it matters to me.

If you don’t [fall in love again], would you feel that there was something missing, having been in love before? I don’t know, because I’m different now. I’m different than I was entering into [her relationship with Chesney]. And so, I’m open to something new. . . . I just don’t have any expectations. That doesn’t mean that I’m not a romantic, and it doesn’t mean that I don’t have things that I believe in, because I do.

Read the full interview by Josh Young after the jump!

Renee Zellweger – Life Magazine

Leave it to Renée Zellweger’s famous movie alter ego to best sum up the actress’s life these past two years. After a wildly brief romance, the then–newly minted Oscar winner married country-music star Kenny Chesney in a barefoot ceremony on the beach. Four months later, she shocked fans (and reportedly Chesney) by filing for annulment, citing “fraud.” Seeing her life played out in the tabloids deeply rattled the private 37-year-old Texan—and the sad series of events still brings her to tears. In an interview with LIFE, Zellweger, who recently received a Golden Globe nomination for her role in this month’s Miss Potter, based on the life of the author of the beloved Peter Rabbit books, reflects on her year of living all too publicly and why she’s thrilled 2007 is finally here.

In your new movie, Beatrix Potter best expresses herself through the characters she created, like Peter Rabbit and Flopsy Bunny. How do you best express yourself? Oh, I don’t know. I’m not a performer. I don’t want to hop up on a stage and go “Look at me! I’m Renée! What do you think?” That’s not me. What I do is very different. If I want to express something, it’s through the filter [of a character]. So I never feel exposed.

You made the movie in a very difficult part of your life last year. It was important for me to make this film—going to work and being with my friends, getting through the days.

What was the hardest part about 2006 for you? Well, I’m sure that if you buy groceries, you might have read something about it. It’s not on the top of my favorite things that have ever happened. [Her eyes well up] I’m not a superficial person. I don’t care about what’s on the grocery-store shelves. That’s just salt in the wound. But it’s not a television show. I lived it. [A breakup] is a very sad experience for anyone to go through, and it’s not fun when people decide that it’s a lovely thing to capitalize on. But you’re oblivious to that because you are living the reality of the experience—which is devastating.

Are you two still friends? I’ll tell you that I was saddened. I’ll tell you that it took . . . it’s, it’s not something I could [reason] away. It’s something that I’ll live through, but I don’t want to talk about it beyond that because it matters to me.

Has the pain of last year led to any New Year’s resolutions? I kind of do New Year’s resolutions when they show up and are necessary. I don’t like to set myself up for disappointment.

But is there anything that you feel you need to change about your life in the coming year? Yes. I need to find a way to manage the things that are very difficult for me in terms of fame. I need to find a way to have more grace in certain situations. I’m not good at the majority of things that come [with celebrity]. I like my job. I don’t mind getting up at three in the morning on the Isle of Man, working in a cowshed that smells like poo. I’m okay with 16-hour days. I’m okay with living out of my suitcase. I am not good at the commodification of me as a person—it’s dehumanizing. I’m not good at it because my values are different than that, and so I’m disappointed by it. [But] it’s not my place to be disappointed by it. I need to find a way to be okay with those things.

Is it a question of trying to distance yourself from it? To care less about what’s written about you? It’s hard to not care. It takes a long time to realize the only way to win is to resign yourself to losing, because then you lose less. Because you are going to lose. There are going to be people who capitalize on your losses, on your sadness, and they’ll create it. I expect that if I have a personal crisis, somebody is going to sell magazines because of it. I expect that there will be paparazzi in the street. I accept that. It’s the other side of [fame]. I’ve [seen] stories where people speculate about what it is that [you're] saying based on your body language. It’s incredible to me that that’s where our society has gone.

You want people to respect you and recognize your films . . . No, that’s not the goal. It’s rewarding when you do something that somebody cares about—not just in this medium, but in the world. When you look at yourself and say “Can I contribute something?” I look at this and think, Well, what is acting anyway? I question the value of it all the time, of what it is that I “give.”

But you entertain millions. I can’t see it that way. Every time someone comes up to me and says something [nice], it still surprises me that they’ve seen [one of her movies]. To me, these are little projects that I have to believe are private experiences or I couldn’t do them. I couldn’t do them knowing that potentially I’m going to disappoint people. I think about acting as this thing I’m lucky to do because I love it. But if I had looked at it from an outsider’s perspective in the beginning and known “This is what your life will be like on a daily basis, can you handle it?” I might have said “I don’t know.”

Knowing what you do now, what would you have done differently? I’m not sure. When Nurse Betty came out [in 2000] I was deciding “Now is the time. I know what my life will look like after I participate on this level in the public arena. I am old enough, and I am grounded enough . . . I’ll be all right.” And then it changed. The parameters of what was considered fair game broadened. . . . But here’s the flip side: It ain’t 10 kids on welfare. It’s not being unable to afford your housing and having your job taken away from you. It’s not a sick child . . .

. . . it’s not all those awful things, so, you say, get over it. Get over it! But there are still days you’re just a person.

Beatrix Potter loved children but didn’t have any of her own. Do you want kids? I don’t think about it. I don’t believe in prerequisites for happiness. It’s not a mantra, it’s just my composition. I don’t have a list of things I need in order to be happy. I like to take the good that’s in the mix [of her life] and use that to create the happiness today.

But what about marriage? Did you always dream of that? No, no.

So your thinking was, If I meet somebody . . . If the circumstances are right, then sure. It was more about it being the right thing to do.

Do you think you will fall in love again? Maybe.

And if you don’t, would you feel that there was something missing, having been in love before? I don’t know, because I’m different now. I’m different than I was entering into [her relationship with Chesney]. And so, I’m open to something new. . . . I just don’t have any expectations. That doesn’t mean that I’m not a romantic, and it doesn’t mean that I don’t have things that I believe in, because I do.

Given last year, what about taking an extended break to regroup? [Long pause] I need my work right now. I look forward to it. And if the time comes when I [don't], then I’ll take a minute.

So what do you do to escape? Road trip. Whenever I can. It’s been a while.

Do you still have your truck? Same truck that I’ve always had . . . an old Chevy. A year and a half ago [she drove from] New York to Florida to see my parents. I rented a small car because I wanted to drop it off in Florida. I didn’t know where I was going to go.

What was the best experience you had on that trip? A Motel 6 in South Carolina. I wrote a lot that night, and I drove around the little town.

Do you keep a diary? I don’t keep a conventional diary. I’d bore myself. I put [her thoughts] on my BlackBerry and hope it doesn’t crash.

Or hope you don’t lose it. Oh, I did that! That’s a terrible 10 minutes.

You’re about to start filming George Clooney’s Leatherheads, a 1920s romantic comedy. Is it true he sent you the script one night and you committed the next morning? Oh, I was in before I read the script. I’m a big fan of his directing, and he’s charming. But I’m scared—I’ve heard he’s relentless with the on-set pranks. He plans months in advance, and I’m terrified of what he’s got up his sleeve for me.

So the thing you are looking forward to most in 2007 is . . . Leatherheads. That will be nice.

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    Two thumbs up Renee…..she has class and talent!!!!!
    ( life is a learning experience)

  • Observer

    I enjoyed reading the interview and it was interesting. She sounded pretty “sad” for lack of better word, but can’t see that in the pictures. Guess one can’t see much of a person by looking at his/her pictures.

    Thanks for posting the interview, JJ.

  • Angi

    She sounds like she needs more friends! I hope George is nice to hear, as a friend.

  • TvT

    Very nice interview. I have always admired her as an actor and enjoy her work. I wish her well and believe that good things happen to good people. After all, we’re all just reflections of one another.

  • http://deleted Ronnie

    Yes, Renee is good people — a little odd sometimes, but good. It probably hurts to see all these other public relationships going forward and yours to K. Chesney got stuck in the mud before it even got a chance to take off. How heartbreaking!

    I hope that 2007 will be Renee’s year. I hope she meets the love of her life. Perhaps a smart, artsy sort of gentleman who is a bookworm like her and who wants marriage and children.

  • Mary

    I Love Renee I had always hoped things would have worked out with Jack white
    I thought they were a good match. I can’t wait to see her new movie, I love the
    peter rabbit books.

  • louloute

    luv Renee

  • http://deleted I’m just saying

    It may be hurtful to some Chesney fans, but I know people who swear out the man is gay!

  • Shauna

    I always thought that Jack White was such a dog for marrying so soon after they broke up and having a child right away. I know life happens, but is seemed so sad that Renee (who had been trying to arrange their engagement for close to a year) was truly living the real life example of “He’s just not into you.”

    It is a shame that the Chesney relationship looked like it was doomed before it even started. She seems very genuine and she is very talented too. But she is a cautionary tale that fame, and fortune do not guarantee you success in love.

    On the plus side, these photos are STUNNING so it is a great way to start out the new year. I also wish her good luck in 2007, she certainly deserves it!

  • JordanA

    Classy Lady, talented and still retains her values; Her time will come in the love dept.

  • http://deleted Mary

    Renee, give up the insecure, self-absorbed entertainers! There are a lot of smart, handsome, hardworking, loving, unselfish, loyal men who would be PROUD to have you as their wife!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://Mary Mary

    I see another Mary has posted! I agree 100% Renee deserves someone special she is seems so sweet and so down to earth! The Real Deal!
    Shauna I know what you mean! Even though I am A huge fan of Jack White, I also found it amazing that he married and had a baby so quick(They seem happy though, their Baby is Beautiful! All the best to them!)
    Yeah I guess it was a sex in the city thing”He’s just not into you”

  • lexy

    She seems totally crazy and self absorbed.

  • lou

    Self-absorbed? They’re asking her questions about herself; all she’s doing is answering them. She’s a very classy lady, and I hope she finds love, if that’s what she wants, in the future. Looking forward to her future projects. I think she will gradually segue into becoming a great character actress, and will have a long career.

  • Kristy

    Holy crap sticks, how much does she look like Christina Applegate in that first pic?!?! I saw the pic, thought “Oh yeah what’s ol’ Applegate been up to?” and then bam, it’s not her.