Renée Zellweger was 'devastated' by a breakup made worse by 'humiliating' false reports

Renée Zellweger attends the 23rd Annual Hollywood Film Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on November 03, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/FilmMagic)

Renée Zellweger has taken six years out of the spotlight where she’s been enjoying a private life away from the convoluted world of the entertainment industry. But the 50-year-old actress, who recently returned to the big screen as Judy Garland in the Judy biopic, tells InStyle that reemerging into her public life is something that was made easier from the lessons that she learned through her 26-year-career.

“Different hardships that are unexpected can sort of assist you moving forward. With this job, it's peculiar because you're not born with the faculties to know how to handle the things that come your way,” she said in her December cover story. “But I learned pretty early on.”

Fabricated tabloid stories, for one, are something that the Bridget Jones actress says she’s dealt with enough throughout the years to now realise that it’s up to her to not engage. It took made up coverage of a hard breakup, however, to help her learn that.

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“I was devastated about a breakup, and it was plastered all over the tabloids. None of it true, all of it humiliating. Never mind that living the experience [of the relationship] was plenty,” Zellweger explained. “I was at a supermarket with my brother. And he saw some of those magazines, and, unbeknownst to me, he bought them.”

While on the way home, Zellweger said her brother started reading one of the magazines and suddenly burst into quiet laughter.

“He's reading my quotes from this supposed interview I had done. Things I supposedly said about this personal relationship that I have never talked about and never will. And he was reading them in a voice that he imagined this fictional person to be,” she recalled. “And then we were both laughing, because of the tone of voice and the delivery of these lines.”

Her brother’s laughter and dramatic reading helped Zellweger to adopt a new perspective about the stories that she was unwillingly dragged into, and realising that they don’t have anything to do with who she really is.

Renee Zellweger's brother Drew Zellweger made her laugh about the situation. (Photo by Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images)

“I found that shifting your perspective is really important. I don't internalise things, and I don't personalise things, and I don’t engage,” she said. “This is not a proper representation of you and how you live your life. The choices you make, this is not. It is entertainment, and it's funny if you look at it in the right way.”

Still, the star enjoyed living her most authentic life over the past few years, which included studying, traveling and falling in love.

“It was nice to have authentic exchanges with people for a while. When you're not on the radar, people don't clock who you are; you're just a person at the coffee shop ordering a coffee,” she said. “Slowing down and working on building a life for myself. Trying to not have a relationship when I'm leaving town every two weeks. You know, getting to know somebody. Falling in love.”