Renee Zellweger Says She Relates to Bridget Jones -- Just Like the Rest of Us

renee Zellweger and Bridget Jones

When you think of an Academy Award–winning actress, you imagine that her life is a stream of endless parties and red carpet events. But that's not really the case for Renee Zellweger, who's starring in Bridget Jones's Baby after taking a six-year, self-imposed hiatus from Hollywood. She gets candid with CafeMom about what she and the beloved heroine have in common. (Spoiler alert: It isn't a bun in the oven.)

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The film, in theaters today, opens with a bedraggled Bridget blowing out a lone candle as she celebrates her birthday solo. Where's the fun-loving squad that surrounded the singleton a decade ago? Why, they've all paired off and started families, of course.

During a roundtable interview, Zellweger, 47, shared with CafeMom what she and Bridget have both come to learn from watching their friends become parents. 

More from CafeMom: 'Bridget Jones's Baby' Delivers Belly Laughs in This Overdue Reunion

"... from what I've experienced with the people that I'm closest to, you evolve when you become a mom. You become a bigger version of yourself. You become a more powerful version of yourself, a fully realized version of yourself," she said.

It's true, isn't it? Things you never thought you'd be able to do -- whether it's stay up all night to comfort a teething toddler or craft a birthday cake shaped like a platypus -- are suddenly all within your realm. 

"And I'm watching all of my friends and my family members evolve in this way. And I'm a bit of a late bloomer, and so it's interesting to kind of be chronologically in that place, but not have -- not experience -- that same transformation at the same time as your friends and the people closest to you," she continued.

For those whose lives have taken a different trajectory, personal evolution still occurs -- just in a way society doesn't always know how to recognize or measure, the Cold Mountain star said.

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Calling it "a unique kind of loneliness," Zellweger explained that following the not-so-traditional path often "means defining your growth in a different way and insisting that it happens despite the absence of this thing that makes it happen naturally."

She makes an excellent point, doesn't she? Simply because someone hasn't followed the "marriage-and-kids" path, that doesn't mean the person hasn't grown and achieved amazing successes in other areas that deserve to be celebrated. 

Zellweger, who was married very briefly to country singer Kenny Chesney, knows she's not alone in identifying with Bridget Jones. She shared what drove home how universal the emotions her character experiences are: 

So many people come up to me and say, 'No, you don't understand, Renee. I am Bridget Jones. I am Bridget Jones,' and they'll share their Bridget Jones story. 

... it just made me realize, 'Oh, you know, it really is true.' If we were all privy to one another's inner dialogue, we would recognize that we are so very much alike. We all feel the same pressures to measure up, and we all share the same fears that we won't. 

And we all put the same pressures on ourselves. We're all self-deprecating. Yeah. It's kind of -- it's kind of a lovely realization.

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Her words are so refreshing and honest -- perhaps that's why she's able to embody this character so completely and make her so lovably relatable. 

Zellweger, as we imagine viewers will be as well, is happy with how Bridget has evolved.

"In this incarnation, she's finally a little bit more self-possessed and more inclined to listen to her own intuition," she says. "And she's sort of recognizing that the social paradigm for happiness does not apply across the board and that it's okay to have and determine for yourself what happiness means, even if it isn't within the conventional ideal. And maybe the suggestion to not waste so much time trying to measure up but to recognize that, you know, she's fine."

 

Image via Universal Pictures

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