Renée Zellweger Is 50 & Happier Than Ever — But Still Remembers ‘Humiliating’ Tabloids From Her 20s

It’s been 18 years since Bridget Jones’s Diary came out — but Renée Zellweger’s cheeky determined Bridget is as much an icon in 2019 as she was then. Likewise, Zellweger herself gets more legendary every year, most recently wowing audiences as Judy Garland in biopic Judy. After decades in the spotlight, Zellweger is opening up about dealing with tabloids and embracing her age, and we couldn’t be more eager to hear what wisdom she’s ready to share.

Zellweger is gracing the December cover of InStyle and chatted about how aging has been a blessing. “I found that shifting your perspective is really important,” she confides in Brown. “I don’t internalize things, and I don’t personalize things, and I don’t engage. I spend a lot of time focusing on the work itself, not the consequences of the work or people’s perceptions of it.”

Of course, that wasn’t always the case for young Zellweger. She describes a tabloid incident early on that left her shaken — but proved to be an important lesson. “I was devastated about a breakup, and it was plastered all over the tabloids,” she recounts. “None of it true, all of it humiliating. Never mind that living the experience [of the relationship] was plenty.”

While she was horrified at the tabloid’s contents, she says her brother couldn’t help but burst out laughing when he saw them. “He was in tears; he was laughing so hard, he could barely breathe,” Zellweger explains. “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.”

“My brother taught me that this is what it is,” she concludes. “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.”

While Zellweger has learned not to pay attention to what’s written about her, that doesn’t mean she approves of the practice — and she still sees friends adjusting to that painful tabloid treatment today.

“You have to resign yourself to certain things that aren’t natural, and to the fact that you will not necessarily determine how you will be remembered in the world. That what someone chooses to put out there about you has nothing to do with the truth of your life [or what that means for] your grandchildren when they are asking about who you are,” she tells Brown, reflecting on what all actors learn to live with. “There’s that, and then there’s getting through the day if you’re being hunted.”

Luckily, age has brought a necessary perspective — but that’s not the only reason Zellweger is excited to get older.

“I’d rather celebrate each phase of my life and be present in it than mourn something that’s passed,” she explains. “I don’t want to miss this moment to be something that I used to be. That’s for someone else now…I’d rather be a healthy, productive woman in each stage of my life than apologetic. I also don’t want to perpetuate the notion that somehow moving forward in your life is wrong.”

Truth be told, Zellweger feels more “like a kid” at 50 than she ever has: “I feel energized and full of wonder and excitement about what’s ahead,” she shares. Oh, and this whole “aging” concept needs a rebrand, in her opinion: “It’s not aging. It’s growing!” she contests. “It’s acquisition of the most valuable things: experience and knowledge and grace and insight.”

We’d expect nothing less from the Chicago star, but still — let’s bow down for a moment to this incredible lady who makes aging look and sound so, so good. We’re loving Zellweger at 50 more than ever before, and it has everything to do with how much she’s loving herself.

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