Renée Zellweger went to school during her time away from Hollywood!
The “Bridget Jones’s Diary” star, 52, opened up to Today’s Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie on Monday about how she focused on education during her hiatus from acting.
Focusing Her Energy On Education
Zellweger took law classes when she stepped away from the limelight around 2010 to 2016.
“I needed to step away, and kind of grow as a person and learn some things that were not related to work,” she said.
The actress continued, “I mean, that’s one of my favorite things about the work, is that you have an opportunity to learn things that you wouldn’t otherwise have occasion to explore,” adding, “Went to school and just, you know, took some time out and decided I wanted to maybe participate in a different way.”
On Studying Law
Kotb asked a follow-up question about going to school, to which Zellweger responded, “I snuck into UCLA for a little while and did some public policy. International law. Interested in politics.”
“Is this toward an end goal or just something you wanted to do in the interim?” Kotb pried further.
“I’m not sure. But it’s one of my favorite things,” the two-time Oscar winner answered. “I’ll bore you to death at a dinner party, I really will. Just don’t get me started. It’s true — ask any of my friends!”
Focusing On Her Mental Health
Zellweger talked about her break from show business during an interview with People in 2019. She said she learned “that I like being privately creative very much” while away from the spotlight.
That same year, she got candid about prioritizing her mental health when opting to take a break from acting.
“I wasn’t healthy,” she told New York Magazine at the time, calling the hiatus crucial. “I wasn’t taking care of myself. I was the last thing on my list of priorities.”
The realization led Zellweger to try therapy for the first time in her life. Through the help of her therapist, the actress navigated the emotions she was feeling during her break from her acting career.
“He recognized that I spent 99 percent of my life as the public persona and just a microscopic crumb of a fraction in my real life,” Zellweger recalled. “I needed to not have something to do all the time, to not know what I’m going to be doing for the next two years in advance. I wanted to allow for some accidents. There had to be some quiet for the ideas to slip in.”
The Academy Award winner also shared a word of advice from pal Salma Hayek, who she bumped into at the airport.
“She shared this beautiful … metaphor? Analogy? ‘The rose doesn’t bloom all year … unless it’s plastic,'” Zellweger shared. “I got it. Because what does that mean? It means that you have to fake that you’re okay to go and do this next thing. And you probably need to stop right now, but this creative opportunity is so exciting and it’s once-in-a-lifetime and you will regret not doing it. But actually, no, you should collect yourself and, you know … rest.”