Renée Zellweger revealed that she traded the big screen for the classroom when she decided to leave the spotlight for six years from 2010 to 2016.
The “Bridget Jones’s Diary” actor told “Today” co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb Monday that she took a break from Hollywood because she “needed to step away and grow as a person” and “learn some things that were not related to work” and “maybe participate in a different way.”
The two-time Oscar winner shared that she “snuck into UCLA for a little while and did some public policy” and also studied international law, as she’s “interested in politics.”
When Kotb asked if this path was something Zellweger wanted to work toward as an end goal ― or if it was something she wanted to do in the interim ― the actor replied that she wasn’t sure.
“It’s one of my favorite things. I’ll bore you to death at a dinner party. I really will. Just don’t get me started,” she said, laughing. “Ask any of my friends.”
Zellweger has spoken about her decision to step away from the limelight before, revealing in a candid interview with Vulture that she “wasn’t healthy.”
“I wasn’t taking care of myself. I was the last thing on my list of priorities,” Zellweger said in the 2019 profile. A therapist also helped her get more insight into her life, and what she was missing in it.
“He recognized that I spent 99% of my life as the public persona and just a microscopic crumb of a fraction in my real life,” the actor said. “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.”
Zellweger returned from her time off in 2016 with “Bridget Jones’s Baby,” and later won a slew of awards ― including an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role ― for her stunning transformation into Judy Garland for the biopic “Judy.”
She is currently doing press for her latest project, called “The Thing About Pam,” a TV true crime series based on Pam Hupp’s role in the 2011 murder of Betsy Faria.