Renée Zellweger: Snapshot

Renée Zellweger
Date of Birth
April 25, 1969
Birth Place
Katy, Texas
After a star-making turn opposite Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire, pouty-lipped Renée Zellweger has provided audiences with a series of surprises.

She earned the wrath of England when she (a Yank) was cast as the London working-girl heroine of Bridget Jones's Diary. Though much attention was focused on her weight gain (and drastic, subsequent loss), Zellweger earned her first Oscar nod. A second nomination came for the hit musical Chicago, but she finally won an Oscar for her supporting role opposite Nicole Kidman in 2003's Cold Mountain.

The actress, who has dated actors Jim Carrey and Bradley Cooper, married country music star Kenny Chesney in May 2005, but the union was annulled just four months later. She has since picked up the pieces and moved on to roles in Jerry Seinfeld's animated feature Bee Movie and George Clooney's Leatherheads.

Renée Zellweger: Video

People Video

Check out this Oscar winner's transformation into one of the red carpet's most consistently elegant stars (2:12)

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Renée Zellweger: Five Fun Facts

  1. To make ends meet in college, Renée Zellweger waited tables at Sugar's, a popular topless club in Texas – but she did it fully clothed.
  2. Before Jerry Maguire turned her into a star, Renée Zellweger once ran out of money at a laundromat. "I went to use the ATM machine, and my card was denied," she told PEOPLE. "There was no money in the account."
  3. Renée Zellweger lost both a Golden Globe, for Bridget Jones Diary, and an Oscar, for Chicago, to Nicole Kidman. When Zellweger won the Academy Award for Cold Mountain, costar Kidman told PEOPLE she was "rooting for her."
  4. To prep for Bridget Jones's Diary, Renée Zellweger was "Bridget Cavendish," publicity intern for the London publishing company Picador, for two weeks. Only one coworker recognized her, as "the girl in Jerry Maguire."
  5. "I'll be in my glory when I have a child on my knee," Renée Zellweger told HELLO! magazine in 2001.

Renée Zellweger: Biography


Renée Zellweger

High Times

Telling PEOPLE about her days as a star high school cheerleader, Zellweger admits to "using my lifetime allotment of mascara in two years" and being a "fountain-haired" '80s teen. At the University of Texas in Austin, Zellweger acts in student theater productions with future Hollywood heartthrob Matthew McConaughey. The English major said she got into acting because "the drama class just happened to fit into my schedule."


Renée Zellweger

Humble Beginnings

Zellweger nabs small roles in the cult favorite Dazed and Confused, the low-budget Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation and the Gen-X hit Reality Bites. "Really early on, in Texas, most of the roles I was offered were the other woman, the harlot, the one-night stand, the hot blonde in a black dress," Zellweger tells Britain's Guardian.


Renée Zellweger

December 13

A Star is Born

Her leading-lady turn opposite Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire makes Zellweger a household name. Of his decision to cast the unknown actress, director Cameron Crowe tells In Style, "She reminds you of a sister, a friend, someone you were in love with once or now." She goes on to act with screen legend Meryl Streep in the 1998 tearjerker One True Thing.

Read More on Renée Zellweger's Life

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Edited by Julia Wang

Renée Zellweger

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