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Renee Zellweger


Birth name:

Renée Kathleen Zellweger






Katy, Texas, USA



Race or Ethnicity:


Sexual orientation:





United States

Executive summary:

Bridget Jones' Diary


5' 4" (1.63 m)


Renee Zellweger - Pictures

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Additional Free Pictures of Renee Zellweger


Renee Zellweger - Biography


Renée Kathleen Zellweger (born April 25, 1969) is an American actress and producer. Zellweger first gained widespread attention for her role in the film Jerry Maguire (1996), and subsequently received two nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her roles as Bridget Jones in the comedy Bridget Jones's Diary (2001) and as Roxie Hart in the musical Chicago (2002), and won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the drama Cold Mountain (2003).
She has won three Golden Globe Awards and three Screen Actors Guild Awards, was named Hasty Pudding's Woman of the Year in 2009, and has established herself as one of the highest-paid Hollywood actresses in recent years.

Zellweger was born in Katy, Texas, a western suburb of Houston. Her father, Emil Erich Zellweger, is from Au, St. Gallen in Switzerland and is a mechanical and electrical engineer who worked in the oil refining business. Zellweger's mother, Kjellfried Irene (née Andreassen), is Norwegian-born and of Sami origin, and is a nurse and midwife who moved to the United States in order to work as a governess for a Norwegian family in Texas. Zellweger described herself as being raised in a family of "lazy Catholics and Episcopalians". She has an older brother, Andrew.
In junior high school, Zellweger actively took part in several sports, including soccer, basketball, baseball and football. She attended Katy High School, where she was a cheerleader, a gymnast, a member of speech team, and a drama club member. Zellweger acted in several school plays and was voted the "Best Looking" of her class before graduating from high school in 1987. After high school, she went to the University of Texas at Austin to major in English language. Zellweger was a good student, and made the Dean's List several times. At the beginning she took a drama class only because she needed a fine arts credit to complete her degree, but the experience made her appreciate how much she loved acting. During this time, she supported herself by taking jobs as a waitress in Austin, Texas and worked maintenance at The Velvet Touch in Flint, Michigan. In 1991, Zellweger graduated from university with a BA degree in English. She considered moving to Hollywood but decided to stay in her home state, Texas, to seek more experience. Her first job after graduation was working in a beef commercial, at the same time she started to audition for roles around Houston.

While still in Texas, Zellweger appeared in several films. One was A Taste for Killing (1992) as Mary Lou, followed by a minor role in ABC TV mini series named Murder in the Heartland (1993). The following year, she appeared in Reality Bites (1994), the directorial debut of Ben Stiller, and in the biopic film 8 Seconds, directed by John G. Avildsen.
Zellweger's first main part in a movie came with the 1994 horror story Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, alongside Matthew McConaughey. She played Jenny, a teenager who leaves a prom early with three friends and ended up getting into a car accident, which leads to their meeting a murderous family. Her next movie was Love and a .45 (1994), in which she played the role of Starlene Cheatham, a woman who plans a robbery with her boyfriend. The performance earned her an Independent Spirit Award for Best Debut Performance. She subsequently moved to Los Angeles, winning roles in the films Empire Records (1995) and The Whole Wide World (1996). Zellweger first became widely known to audiences around the world with Jerry Maguire (1996), in which she played the romantic interest of Tom Cruise's character. She won the role over Mira Sorvino and Marisa Tomei.
Zellweger later won acclaim in One True Thing (1998) opposite William Hurt and Meryl Streep, and in Neil LaBute's Nurse Betty opposite Morgan Freeman. The role garnered the actress her first of three Golden Globe Awards, but she was in the bathroom when future co-star Hugh Grant announced her name. Zellweger later protested: "I had lipstick on my teeth!"

In 2001, Zellweger gained the prized lead role as Bridget Jones, playing alongside Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, in the British romantic comedy film Bridget Jones's Diary, based on the 1996 novel Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding. The choice came amid much controversy since she was neither British nor overweight. During casting Zellweger was told she was too skinny to play the chubby Bridget, so she quickly embarked on gaining the required weight and learning an English accent. She gained 20 pounds in order to complete her transformation to Bridget Jones. Her dramatic weight fluctuations became the subject of much media interest. Her performance as Bridget received praise from critics, with Stephen Holden of The New York Times commenting, "Ms. Zellweger accomplishes the small miracle of making Bridget both entirely endearing and utterly real." Along with receiving voice coaching to fine-tune her English accent, part of Zellweger's preparations involved spending three weeks working undercover in a "work experience placement" for British publishing firm Picador in Victoria, London. As a result of her considerable efforts to effect author Helen Fielding's character, Zellweger caught the attention of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and received her first Best Actress Academy Award nomination.
In 2002, she starred with Michelle Pfeiffer in White Oleander. She played an actress in the film, and a clip from her role in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation was shown as she discussed her career with the main character, Astrid Magnussen. The same year, she appeared as "Roxie Hart" in the critically acclaimed musical film Chicago, directed by Rob Marshall, co-starring Catherine Zeta Jones, Richard Gere, Queen Latifah, and John C. Reilly. The movie received an Academy Award for Best Picture, and Zellweger received positive reviews. The San Francisco Chronicle's web site SFGate commented, "Zellweger is a joy to watch, with marvelous comic timing and, in her stage numbers, a commanding presence." The Washington Post noted that even though Zellweger couldn't dance well in real life, the audience "wouldn't know it from this movie, in which she dances up a storm." As a result, she earned her second Academy Award nomination as Best Actress, as well as the Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe Award

In 2004, Zellweger received an Academy Award, this time as Best Supporting Actress in Anthony Minghella's Cold Mountain opposite Jude Law and Nicole Kidman. Zellweger has since starred in the sequel to Bridget Jones's Diary in Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, lent her voice to the DreamWorks animated features Shark Tale and Bee Movie, and starred in the 2005 Ron Howard film Cinderella Man opposite Russell Crowe and Paul Giamatti. On May 24, 2005, Zellweger received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She produced and appeared in Miss Potter, based on the life story of acclaimed author Beatrix Potter, with Emily Watson and Ewan McGregor, released in December 2006. In 2008, she starred in the western Appaloosa with Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen and the period comedy Leatherheads with fellow Oscar-winner George Clooney and John Krasinski (from The Office).
In 2008 she produced a film starring Harry Connick, Jr., about the true story of Dr. Denny Slamon. The film, called Living Proof, premiered in October 2008 on Lifetime Television. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron is also producing.
She stars alongside Chris Noth and Kevin Bacon in the feature film My One and Only, due for release August 21, 2009. The film is a 1950s-set comedy in which the glamorous "Anne Deveraux" (played by Zellweger) embarks on an eventually cross-country drive in a quixotic search for a wealthy man to fund a new life for her and her sons. As of 2009, StudioCanal and Alain Goldman's Legende are developing director Olivier Dahan's My Own Love Song with Zellweger and Forest Whitaker.
In 2009, she starred in New in Town, a comedy about a corporate executive from Miami who is sent to New Ulm, Minnesota, to oversee a small manufacturing company making minimal profits producing and selling pudding. She also had a cameo role in the animated film Monsters vs. Aliens in which she voiced the character of "Katie."

Zellweger dated director Joshua Pate, whom she began seeing in November 1997 after working on his film Deceiver. She also was rumored to have dated George Clooney. Her first high-profile romance was with actor/comedian Jim Carrey. The relationship ended in December 2000. The two were rumored to have been engaged, but Zellweger frequently denied this claim. Zellweger poked fun at the prior relationship when she ended her opening monologue on Saturday Night Live by reading an entry from her own "diary", marked "Dear Diary, I can't believe I am dating Jim Carrey."
For two years, Zellweger dated The White Stripes singer Jack White. The pair met while filming Cold Mountain, and later began dating after the film wrapped. They broke up two years later, after schedule demands kept them apart. Friends said the split was amicable.
On May 9, 2005, Zellweger married singer Kenny Chesney in a ceremony at the island of St. John. They had met in January at a tsunami relief benefit concert. Zellweger missed out on the engagement ring since the wedding was planned over a short span of time. On September 15, 2005, after only four months of marriage, they announced their plans for an annulment. Zellweger cited "fraud" as the reason in the related papers. After media scrutiny of her use of the word "fraud", she qualified the use of the 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, sensationalized or untrue conclusions. We hope to experience this transition as privately as possible." The annulment was finalized in late December 2005.
In 2002, Zellweger bought a US$6.8-million home in Bel Air, then sold her previous home in the Hollywood Hills, bought for US$1.9M in 2000. Due to the constant attention from the paparazzi, she purchased a home in Connecticut and moved there in 2005. In January 2007, she admitted that she gets scared at home alone due to security problems and fans who send or leave mail at her homes; she said that she considered buying a gun for reasons of personal security. She claims she rarely spends time there, and keeps a small apartment in New York where she "stops over" to do laundry before moving on to her next film.
Zellweger, and Marc Forster, took part in the 2005 HIV prevention campaign of the Swiss federal health department. Zellweger maintains a residence in the Roland Park area of Baltimore, Maryland.


Renee Zellweger - Personal Quotes


On Los Angeles "It opens your eyes in this town, it's amazing. It's taught me who I don't want to be."

Regarding the lifestyle of the people of Romania, she says, "I learned how little in the way of material goods we really need, and how beautiful a simple life can be. In Romania people work with their hands every day, and you'll see an 80-year-old woman still chopping wood because she's been looking after herself all her life, and she still has the strength to do it."

"It saddens me every day when people come up and say, 'OK, how did you lose that weight?' I can't speak about it because I am not an authority on weight loss. I am just not. I am not challenged with a medical situation that's weight-related and that I need to pay attention to". [On the weight she lost after Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)].

"It was very exciting for me to fill out Bridget's dresses. It felt really great. I didn't feel any different. I didn't feel uncomfortable, and I didn't feel as if it changed my life. I got such positive responses from the fellows in my life while I looked like Bridget Jones. I had a lot of friends who said I should think about keeping some of the weight on. I have to say I agreed, because there were certain things about it I liked very much. But, of course, I'm a girl, and I thought, 'Ugh, no.' Like anybody, I want to look my best."

"I see the Oscar [for best supporting actress in Cold Mountain (2003)] in my bedroom, and it's like I bought it in a souvenir shop on Hollywood Boulevard".

"My life has far exceeded what I might ever have dreamed of because I would never have been so bold as to dream that these things might happen to me."

"I wanted to be self-sufficient, I wanted to take care of myself, and I wanted to learn. I wanted to travel, I wanted to see the world and have my eyes opened. I wanted to be consistently challenged, and I knew I needed to be creative in some way. When I got my job in a bar and I could pay for my tuition and go on auditions and sometimes get jobs that I loved and pay my rent, I knew that I would be all right. That's when my dreams came true, long before the telephone rang and someone said, 'Come and meet Tom Cruise'".

"It's great to be a brunet. I can sneak around downtown Los Angeles and nobody knows it's me. I went to Starbucks to get my coffee in the morning, and they said, 'What's your name?' I said, 'Oh, Renée.' Nobody even looked at me twice. My friends even walk past me. It's fantastic because I feel so free again. That's why I think the old adage that blonds have more fun is a presumption!" [on dying her hair brown]

"I think we can all relate to Bridget standing in a hallway wanting to know, 'Do you love me or not?' She just blurts it out and maybe that makes her seem like she's not strong. I think she's very brave because she's speaking her mind. Ultimately, she knows that even if she doesn't get the right answer from this man, she will still get up and move forward. That's strength to me."

"What I admire most about Bridget is her ever-present optimism in the face of adversity. I love how she has romantic troubles, but she gets back up and even laughs at herself. Me? I do my best. I keep on trying, anyway."

"Emotionally gaining the weight didn't affect me. In fact, I was afraid that I didn't gain enough weight. We were working six days a week, so my fear was that I'd lose a few pounds from the work, and the fluctuations in my weight would show on the screen. But they weren't noticeable." (On her weight gain in Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004).

"People did suggest to me, 'Oh, it might not be necessary to gain that much weight or as much as you did last time.' I thought the weight was essential in repeating the journey. If you're not going to be who she is, then what is the point?"

"I am very proud to be Norwegian." [1996 interview]


Renee Zellweger - Filmography


My Own Love Song (2010)
Case 39 (2009) .... Emily Jenkins
Monsters vs Aliens (2009) (voice) .... Katie
... aka Monsters vs Aliens: A Monstrous IMAX 3D Experience (USA: IMAX version)
My One and Only (2009) .... Anne Deveraux
New in Town (2009) .... Lucy Hill
Appaloosa (2008) .... Allison French
Leatherheads (2008) .... Lexie Littleton
... aka Ein verlockendes Spiel (Germany)
Bee Movie (2007) (voice) .... Vanessa Bloome
Miss Potter (2006) .... Beatrix Potter
Cinderella Man (2005) .... Mae Braddock
Bridget Jones Interviews Colin Firth (2005) (V) (uncredited) .... Bridget Jones
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004) .... Bridget Jones
... aka Bridget Jones - Am Rande des Wahnsinns (Germany)
... aka Bridget Jones - L'age 2 raison (France: DVD box title)
... aka Bridget Jones 2 (UK: informal title)
... aka Bridget Jones: L'âge de raison (France)
Shark Tale (2004) (voice) .... Angie
Cold Mountain (2003) .... Ruby Thewes
Down with Love (2003) .... Barbara Novak
... aka Down with Love - Zum Teufel mit der Liebe! (Germany)
Chicago (2002) .... Roxie Hart
... aka Chicago (Germany)
White Oleander (2002) .... Claire Richards
... aka Weißer Oleander (Germany)
Bridget Jones's Diary (2001) .... Bridget Jones
... aka Bridget Jones (UK: informal title)
... aka Le journal de Bridget Jones (France)
"King of the Hill" .... Tammy Duvall (1 episode, 2001)
- Ho, Yeah! (2001) TV episode (voice) .... Tammy Duvall
Me, Myself & Irene (2000) .... Irene
Nurse Betty (2000) .... Betty Sizemore
... aka Nurse Betty - Gefährliche Träume (Germany)
The Bachelor (1999) .... Anne Arden
One True Thing (1998) .... Ellen Gulden
A Price Above Rubies (1998) .... Sonia Horowitz
Deceiver (1997) .... Elizabeth
... aka Liar (UK)
Jerry Maguire (1996) (as Renee Zellweger) .... Dorothy Boyd
The Whole Wide World (1996) .... Novalyne Price
The Low Life (1995) .... Poet
Empire Records (1995) (as Renee Zellweger) .... Gina
... aka Empire
... aka Rock & Fun
The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1994) (as Renee Zellweger) .... Jenny
... aka Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (USA: reissue title)
Love and a .45 (1994) .... Starlene Cheatham
"Rebel Highway" .... Susan (1 episode, 1994)
- Shake, Rattle and Rock! (1994) TV episode .... Susan
Shake, Rattle and Rock! (1994) (TV) .... Susan
8 Seconds (1994) .... Buckle Bunny
... aka The Lane Frost Story
Reality Bites (1994) (as Renee Zellweger) .... Tami
Dazed and Confused (1993) (uncredited) .... Girl in blue pickup truck
My Boyfriend's Back (1993) (unconfirmed)
Murder in the Heartland (1993) (TV) (uncredited) .... Barbara Von Busch
... aka Starkweather: Murder in the Heartland (USA: long title)
A Taste for Killing (1992) (TV) (as Renee Zellwegger) .... Mary Lou


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Renee Zellweger





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