Where Has Renée Zellweger Been the Past Six Years?

Where’d you go, Bridget Jones?

Ahead of her on-screen return in Bridget Jones’s Baby, Renée Zellweger explains why she hasn’t been in the spotlight for more than half of a decade in a new cover story for Vogue U.K. The actress confesses that she needed time to blend in with society to feel like a human again.

“I was fatigued and wasn’t taking the time I needed to recover between projects, and it caught up with me,” says Zellweger. “I got sick of the sound of my own voice: it was time to go away and grow up a bit.”

The actress admits that turning down bigger roles was “hard,” but that the silence paid off in the end. “I found anonymity, so I could have exchanges with people on a human level and be seen and heard, not be defined by this image that precedes me when I walk into a room,” Zellweger described.

“You cannot be a good storyteller if you don’t have life experiences, and you can’t relate to people.”

Her friends tell her that she looks “peaceful” and “healthy” on the other side.

“For a long time I wasn’t doing such a good job with that,” continues the actress. “I took on a schedule that is not realistically sustainable and didn’t allow for taking care of myself. Rather than stopping to recalibrate, I kept running until I was depleted and made bad choices about how to conceal the exhaustion. I was aware of the chaos and finally chose different things.”

Zellweger also explains that she “put on a few pounds” for the role, but questions why she needs to announce such a thing in the first place.

“I also put on some breasts and a baby bump. Bridget is a perfectly normal weight and I’ve never understood why it matters so much. No male actor would get such scrutiny if he did the same thing for a role.”

To read more of Zellweger’s story, pick up a copy of Vogue U.K. when it hits newsstands on June 9.

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CREDIT: Vogue U.K.