If Vulture is unparalleled at getting beloved gay icons to say the darndest things, yesterday was no exception.
The entertainment website profiled Bridget Jones herself, Renée Zellweger, on the eve of her comeback. After taking six years off from acting, the actress is thought to be a shoo-in for an Oscar nomination for Judy, in which she plays the late icon Judy Garland in all her complicated glory. Her performance in the Rupert Goold-directed biopic drew raves at this weekend’s Telluride Film Festival, with many critics believing it to be the finest work of Zellweger’s already distinguished career.
Although the interview is worth reading in its entirety for Zellweger’s thoughts on fame, happiness, and speculation she’s had plastic surgery (she says she hasn’t), she drops that she relates to Garland in at least one way: They’ve both dated gay men.
“I’m an ex-girlfriend of [a gay man], I’m a best friend of, I’m a mentor of, I’m a student of, I’m a client of, a partner of, I’m a neighbor, I’m a boss, a collaborator,” she says, specifically referencing a recent question she’d been asked about her relationship to the LGBTQ+ community. “I’m a patient. I’m a customer. I’m a constituent!”
Given that Zellweger has been an eligible woman in Tinseltown for 26 years — since she played an uncredited role in 1993’s Dazed and Confused — that comment could have probably referenced a half dozen of her exes. She was briefly engaged to Jim Carrey in the late ‘90s (around the time they filmed Me, Myself & Irene) before sharing matching hairstyles with Jack White. According to Vulture, she even dated George Clooney (?), which I honestly did not know happened. We retroactively stan!
But many were quick to make their own conclusions about who the ex in question could be. Speculation swirled in 2005 when Zellweger and country crooner Kenny Chesney annulled their brief four-month marriage following allegations of “fraud.” Although the actress denied the claims referred to Chesney’s sexuality, that didn’t stop literally every person in America at the time from talking about it.
Chesney, for his part, has never come out as gay and both parties have denied the rumors.
While baseless, unfounded speculation might be a fun pastime for your Wednesday morning — even if the truth is no one’s business but theirs — there’s far more important matters afoot: Getting Renée that second Oscar. She’s only got one, and it was for Cold Mountain for some reason. The Academy will have a chance to fix that glaring mistake after Judy makes its bow in U.S. theaters on September 27.