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 It’s been 11 years since the first Bridget Jones’s Diary movie, where Renée Zellweger starred as the more klutzy than glitzy Bridget Jones in a modern day Pride and Prejudice. When constant tousled hair took way longer to do than women of the noughties could imagine, a bottle of red wine and lip-syncing to Whitney Houston became symbols of the metropolitan woman dodging cigarettes and bad life choices.

Renée Zellweger’s iconic portrayal of Bridget Jones is challenged only by her 2002 performance as Roxie Hart in Chicago. We haven’t seen much of her until now with her role reprisal in the upcoming Bridget Jones’s Baby. As it turns out, right from under our noses, the actress has actually just returned from a five-year hiatus starting in 2010, having left Hollywood behind without a clue of whether she would return to the film industry in the future.

Interviewed by American Ways for American Airlines, the 47-year-old stated that the break was a result of an overcoming feeling that acting for her had become “more depleting than rewarding.” In 2010, she had starred in films like New in Town and My Own Love Song. Yet her hiatus seemed to pass by unnoticed, which must’ve been comforting to the actress who spent the last six years travelling to Thailand and Cambodia, amongst other things. However, these weren’t all Eat, Pray, Love fueled adventures, Zellweger also travelled to Liberia with gender-equality charity The Great Initiative started by her friend Mariella Frostrup, helping tackle issues like education, health and violence. 

Credit: Getty Images

Zellweger spoke of her journey during the interview, “I think travelling off the beaten path is a good idea for anybody because it’s essential for understanding not just the rest of the world but yourself.” She’s also been taking classes at college and participating in charity work.

The break helped Zellweger remember her passion for acting, and now that she’s here and ready, her role reprisal and step back into Hollywood is being welcomed with open arms.

Though there’s no real indication of who Bridget Jones ends up with, much to the dismay of original Bridget Jones’s fans, Zellweger has let slip that even she doesn’t know who it is, having filmed multiple endings for the film and acting off a script that had lines like “Bridget stands next to XX at the altar.”

But at the end of the day, Renée Zellweger’s character on and off the screen will shine more than any Firth vs. Dempsey battle, her demure yet easy-going poise a refreshing nostalgia we didn’t know we needed.

If you didn’t already know, Bridget Jones’s Baby hits Australian cinemas September 15th.