#Movies & TV
19 Times Renée Zellweger Surprised Us In The Best Way
by Jennifer Lafferty
Renée Zellweger may not seem like the outrageous type, but she has done plenty of things that shocked us over the years. Although most of these events involved the actress’s on-screen career, her personal life has also offered up a lot of surprises, such as her four-month marriage to Kenny Chesney. Check out the most outrageous things Zellweger has ever done.
Outspoken Huffington Post Op-Ed
Following the buzz and criticism over Zellweger’s new face, she dispelled rumors of cosmetic surgery with an assertive, outspoken 2016 Huffington Post op-ed, taking aim at “tabloid journalism,” and the over-importance society places on a women’s looks.
Going Undercover for a Role
It’s not uncommon for actors to do undercover research, but The Guardian reports Renée Zellweger went so far as to do a three-week internship at a London publishing house to prepare for Bridget Jones’s Diary. She did so well, they offered her a job.
Renée’s New Look
In 2014 Renée Zellweger shocked fans at a red carpet event with a seemingly slimmed down face and wider eyes, causing critics to say the change in appearance made her “unrecognizable.” There was wide-spread media speculation about major cosmetic surgery and other procedures, but the 45-year-old actress has publicly denied rumors that she’s had plastic surgery.
Breakthrough in ‘Jerry Maguire’
In the 1996 romantic dramedy, character Jerry Maguire was more significant for Zellweger than the film’s star Tom Cruise because it essentially launched her career. Movie-goers were so impressed, she quickly became one of Hollywood’s most popular young actresses.
Her Relationship with Jim Carrey
Zellweger’s 1999-2000 relationship with the unconventional Jim Carrey came as a surprise. It was hard to imagine the two as a couple, even though they co-starred in the 2000 comedy Me, Myself & Irene.
Marriage to Kenny Chesney
Another guy we didn’t expect her to be involved with was flamboyant country singer Kenny Chesney, whom she suddenly married in 2005. She further shocked fans by having the marriage annulled after four months, citing “fraud” as the reason for the split. The two released a joint statement at the time, saying the breakup was due to a “miscommunication of the objective of their marriage.”
Singing and Dancing in ‘Chicago’
With only six weeks of training in singing and dancing, Zellweger wowed audiences when she starred as Roxie Hart in Rob Marshall’s 2002 feature adaptation of the physically demanding jazz age musical Chicago.
Falling Asleep During an Interview
During a recent appearance on The Tonight Show, Zellweger confessed to an embarrassing Bridget Jones-like moment, saying: “I think I fell asleep in an interview about a month ago in London.” She told Jimmy Fallon she’d drifted off mid-sentence but managed to keep talking.
Oscar-winning Performance in ‘Cold Mountain’
In 2003, audiences were stunned by Zellweger’s portrayal of tough Southern spitfire Ruby Thewes, opposite Nicole Kidman, in the Civil War drama Cold Mountain. Her performance was impressive enough to earn the actress her first Oscar.
Physical Transformation for ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’
When Zellweger first played Bridget Jones in 2001, her appearance created a buzz for a very different reason. She gained 30 pounds for the role, and put it on again for the 2004 sequel, but didn’t gain weight for Bridget Jones’s Baby.
Six-year Hiatus from Acting
Feeling fatigued, with little time off between projects, Zellweger began a six-year acting hiatus in 2009. Upon her return to the silver screen, she told Vogue U.K. why she left: “I got sick of the sound of my own voice: it was time to go away and grow up a bit.”
Worked in a Strip Club (waiting tables)
Some of the most outrageous things Zellweger has done took place before she was famous. As a struggling actress, she was a cocktail waitress at a strip club. (Don’t worry, she never took off her clothes).
Badly Timed Bathroom Break
When she won her Best Actress in a Comedy Golden Globe for Nurse Betty in 2001, Zellweger was MIA. As announcer Hugh Grant had started accepting the award on her behalf, our awardee rushed on stage just in time, admitting she’d been in the restroom trying to get lipstick off her teeth.
Insecure About Her Acting Ability
The Oscar-winning actress is either incredibly humble or completely unaware of her amazing talents, telling Chelsea Handler: “I’m not trained so I feel like every job I’ve got by accident because I’ve tricked them and they just haven’t found out yet.”
Heavyweight Wrestling with Jimmy Fallon
The actress worked hard to publicize Bridget Jones’s Baby, but we were all surprised to see her dressed in a sumo robot suit, wrestling Jimmy Fallon, who was dressed in a sumo Santa suit. (Spoiler Alert: she won.)
“Formidable Scream Queen”
In his review of 1994 slasher film Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, Joe Leydon of Variety complimented Renée Zellweger’s performance, calling her “the most formidable scream queen since Jamie Lee Curtis went legit.”
She Can Be Campy
Never one to take herself too seriously, Zellweger starred alongside Ewan McGregor in 2003’s Down with Love, a campy romp that paid tribute to the corny, old-fashioned “sex comedies” made popular by Doris Day and Rock Hudson in the 1960s like “Pillow Talk.” The film was a very different approach from most of the movies she’s made, and critics didn’t expect to see a star of Renée Zellweger’s caliber at the time starring in such an offbeat film.
Learned to Speak the Queen’s English
Zellweger, who was born in Texas, learned to speak with a British accent while living in the UK for three months prior to filming Bridget Jones Diary. Co-star Hugh Grant said he didn’t hear her own American accent until the wrap party.
Wrote a TV pilot
During her long break from acting, Renée Zellweger expanded her horizons, writing and executive producing a coming-of-age TV pilot for Lifetime about a group of young songwriters in the 1960s. Unfortunately, Lifetime passed on Cinnamon Girl, but we’re still holding out hope that it resurfaces.