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) (which she reprised in its sequel Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004)), and as Roxie Hart in the musical Chicago (2002). She 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 established herself as one of the highest-paid Hollywood actresses as of 2007.
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. Her 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 has 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 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. She said in 2009 she earned her Screen Actors Guild card doing a Coors Light beer commercial while in college. Also while in college, she did "a bit part ... as a local hire" in the Austin-filmed horror-comedy My Boyfriend's Back, playing "the girl in the beauty shop, maybe two lines. But the beauty shop [scene] got cut."
In 1991, Zellweger graduated from college with a BA degree in English. She considered moving to Hollywood but stayed in 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.
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$1.9 million in 2000. Due to the constant attention from the paparazzi, she purchased a home in Connecticut and moved there in 2005. 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. 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.
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 September 2010, it was reported that Zellweger and actor Bradley Cooper had been in a relationship for over a year. On March 18, 2011, People Magazine announced that the two had broken off their relationship.
1992 A Taste for Killing
1993 Murder in the Heartland
1993 My Boyfriend's Back
1993 Dazed and Confused
1994 Reality Bites
1994 8 Seconds
1994 Shake, Rattle and Rock!
1994 Love and a .45
1994 Rebel Highway
1994 Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation
1995 Empire Records
1995 The Low Life
1996 The Whole Wide World
1996 Jerry Maguire
1998 A Price Above Rubies
1998 One True Thing
1999 The Bachelor
2000 Nurse Betty Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
2000 Me, Myself & Irene
2001 Bridget Jones's Diary
2002 White Oleander
2002 Chicago Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
2003 Down with Love
2003 Cold Mountain Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress / Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
2004 Shark Tale
2004 Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
2005 Cinderella Man
2006 Miss Potter
2007 Bee Movie
2009 New in Town
2009 Monsters vs. Aliens
2009 My One and Only
2009 Case 39
2010 My Own Love Song
TBA Bridget Jones 3