Renee Zellweger's 'lost decade'? No, she just reclaimed her life.


This month as her latest movie about Judy Garland, Judy, is released, Renee Zellweger lifts the curtain on the time out she took from Hollywood that lasted almost a decade. In a feature interview for New York Magazine with the headline “Hollywood almost broke Renee. Now she’s back” she shares in detail exactly what happened, why she took a step not just back, but out of the limelight, and what was really going on for her at the time.

Did she lose a decade as the lead in suggests? No, she found herself, took care of her mental health and emotional wellbeing, and reclaimed her power. Not a bad way to spend a few years.

Renee as quoted in the profile piece on stepping back:

“I wasn’t healthy. I wasn’t taking care of myself. I was the last thing on my list of priorities. He {her therapist} recognised that I spent 99 percent of my life as the public persona and just a microscopic crumb of a fraction in my real life. 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.”

One day around this time, she ran into her friend Salma Hayek in an airport. “She shared this beautiful … metaphor? Analogy? ‘The rose doesn’t bloom all year … unless it’s plastic.’ ” She levels me with a look. “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.

It turns out that she was actually depressed. And as she made clear in the feature, the rough patch only lasted a year. “I had a good five-year period when I was joyful and in a new chapter that no one was even aware of.”

How empowering it is to see someone like Renee open up about what was really going on for her at this time. How rare it is to see the truth, and to be able to visibly watch a woman as famous as her take not only her health and wellbeing back, but to take her power back in the process.

What can we all learn from Renee? So much of what I write about in Simple Soulful Sacred: A Woman’s Guide to Comfort, Clarity and Coming Home to Herself.

Here a are a few of those thoughts:

It’s not only alright to pause, it’s required.

You don’t need anyone’s permission to take a step back, or a big step out, from anything that is not working for you.

That your mental health is something to be cherished, nurtured and respected before all else. Always.

That you don’t have to explain yourself to anyone else. You don’t need validation for your actions or your choices.

That seeking help and support for all aspects of your health and wellbeing is necessary. It’s essential. We can’t go it alone and nor should we try to. Whether that’s a really good therapist, a yoga class, a meditation teacher or the healer of your choice, you can take the support and guidance that you need. And be grateful you are able to.

And that, most importantly, your life is yours. It’s yours to live. It’s yours to nourish. And it’s yours to be ever so grateful for. Because it can be so fragile.

Embrace every beautiful moment. And celebrate others who are doing the same.

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