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Solo And Famous

Renée Zellweger

reneeWhen it comes to being single, Renée Zellweger has an opinion.
“I don’t want to sound cavalier by saying that I’m OK with my situation,” she proclaimed in an interview last year, “because I’m not a frivolous person and don’t take on something of such significance lightly. But there’s good in every situation. It sounds simplistic, but I still have the good things that have always been in my life.”
So there you go. She might be on her own but it’s not the end of the world. OK, she’s not shouting from the rooftops that she’s happier to be unattached, but you heard her – she still has the good things.
Of course it’s unfortunate for Zellweger that she has to even address this issue, but that’s what you get when you’re solo, famous and approaching 40. More to the point it’s what you get if you’re a woman who is solo, famous and hitting 40. Take Vince Vaughan. Always attractive, the man began to spout sex appeal once he parted ways with Jennifer Aniston. And that was after he gained weight. Owen Wilson is another one. Once cute and scruffy, by the time Kate Hudson dumped him he’d become positively alluring. The fact that he reportedly tried to kill himself only gave him more of an edge.
But back to La Zellweger. As a Hollywood A-lister she frequently gets more attention for her apparent solo status than for any of her work. And it’s not like she hasn’t been a busy bee over the last decade or so. Renée Zellweger was born in Texas in 1969. The daughter of a Swiss-born mechanical and electrical engineer and a Norwegian-born nurse and midwife, she was apparently a sporty high school student, as well as being a cheerleader and drama club member. She subsequently attended the University of Texas at Austin where she graduated with a BA degree in English and considering moving to Hollywood. In the end she decided to remain in her home state of Texas to gain more experience and it was while still based here that she appeared in her first film roles.
It wasn’t until 1996, however, that Zellweger hit the big time when she played Tom Cruise’s romantic interest in Jerry Maguire. “You had me at hello,” she warbled and a star was born. Her success continued in the ensuing years, but the dawn of the new millennium saw her fame rise to new heights when she won the lead role in Bridget Jones’s Diary. While the movie itself was a triumph worldwide, it was the modern day obsession with size zero that perhaps garnered Zellweger more (unwanted) headlines. Because in order to play ‘curvy’ (ie average sized) Bridget, the Texan actress did the unthinkable and gained 20 pounds. Shock, horror. Of course when filming finished she returned to her ‘normal’ weight, prompting an international outcry that she was practically anorexic. By the time she returned to the screen (and plumped up again) in Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, she’d received critical acclaim for her turn as Roxie Hart in Chicago and an Oscar for her role in Anthony Minghella’s Cold Mountain.
But in the midst of these dizzying achievements, what of her personal life? Well, reading about Renée Zellweger you would be forgiven for thinking the poor mite was unlucky in love. This is a tag that’s clipped on to a lot of single Hollywood women of course – sure Nicole Kidman was a lost cause until country crooner Keith Urban removed her from the shelf. But the thing about Zellweger is that, not unlike her alter ego Bridget Jones, she’s far from the romantic failure the press often claims her to be. Just as Bridget got to shag BOTH Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) and Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant), Zellweger’s had her fair share of relationships with Tinseltown’s finest. She has spent years basking in rumours that she’s dated George Clooney (there’s never smoke without fire you know), and her liaison with Jim Carrey was serious enough to attract suggestions of an engagement, something she has denied. Still, you’re hardly a loser if you went out with funny man Jim Carrey, even if it’s all over now. Meanwhile, she went on to date super cool White Stripes’ singer Jack White for two years and she was linked to Irish singer songwriter Damien Rice as well.
Perhaps it was her ill-fated trip down the aisle in 2005 that sealed her fate as the eternal singleton. While most of us make our mistakes behind closed doors, Hollywood’s elite do it in front of the world, and when Zellweger got hitched to singer Kenny Chesney after a four-month relationship, there was a collective gasp from all angles. And rightly so. Like the courtship, the marriage lasted four months, before being annulled on grounds of ‘fraud’. The bride later clarified the use of this term, stating it was ‘simply legal language and not a reflection of Kenny’s character’.
“I would personally be very grateful for your support in refraining from drawing derogatory, hurtful, sensationalised or untrue conclusions,” she added. “We hope to experience this transition as privately as possible.”
Clearly it was not a good time in Renée Zellweger’s life. Since then she has been linked to various people, but no one she’s considered going public with. A failed marriage will do that. Chesney, for his part, revealed recently that the experience left him in such a ‘funk’ that he was unable to write songs or perform for fans.
“There was a period at the end of 2005 and really all of 2006 where I never took the guitar case out of the closet when I was at home,” he was quoted as saying. “I was in such a personal funk after the Renee thing that I could have played every day of the week and wouldn’t have felt much joy from it.”
Fear not though, he’s got his edge back now, he said.
“I’m more in the moment…than I have been the last couple of years, and I notice more of the good things.”
The good things? Just like his ex-wife. Seems like it all goes back to good things eh?

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