People
Rene Takes Center Stage Image Credit: People
Rene Takes Center Stage Image Credit: People

Renée - Takes Center Stage

EARNING MAJOR OSCAR BUZZ FOR PLAYING JUDY GARLAND, THE STAR REFLECTS ON SURVIVING THE SPOTLIGHT—AND FINDING PEACE

Julie Jordan

Renée Zellweger is explaining why one of her favorite smells is a dog’s ear. Curled into a chair in a small ballroom of a hotel in Toronto on Sept. 8, the actress giggles despite her long day. “They always smell like puppy breath!” she insists. Zellweger’s own two rescues, Chester and Ellie, had to stay behind in Los Angeles, and it’s obvious the actress is missing them—though she also doesn’t mind the chance to sleep in. “Not that big ol’ 110 lbs. of snout at 5 a.m.,” she says. “I don’t even know if they’re hungry; they just want me to be up. Like, ‘You awake? Because there’s so much we could be doing!'”

Zellweger, 50, has come to understand the importance of alone time. The Texas native became a breakout sensation in 1996 after starring with Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire and cemented her place as America’s spunky, quirky sweetheart with the Bridget Jones movies. But from 2010 to 2016 she took a much-needed break from Hollywood and largely disappeared from the public eye. “I think I was really tired,” she told People in 2016. A grueling schedule and intense public scrutiny of her relationships (and later her looks) had left Zell weger briefly depressed and bur


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