Ant Anstead Thought Girlfriend Renée Zellweger Was British Until They Met: 'A Dream Crusher'

The car guru and the Judy actress, who have been dating since June, met on the set of Anstead's new Discovery+ show, Celebrity IOU: Joyride

Renee Zellweger, Ant Anstead
Reneé Zellweger; Ant Anstead. Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty; Can Nguyen/Shutterstock

New couple Ant Anstead and Renée Zellweger may be close now, but the Wheeler Dealers star had a lot to learn about the Oscar winner when they first met — including the fact that, unlike him, she's not British!

The pair got acquainted while filming his new show, Celebrity IOU: Joyride, which premiered Monday on Discovery+. In the first episode, the longtime automobile builder and TV host, 42, and his co-host Cristy Lee got to spend time with Zellweger, 52, as they worked together to restore two special cars — surprise gifts for Jerome and Jerald, brothers who acted as caregivers to Zellweger's late publicist Nanci Ryder during her battle with ALS.

But before the trio got down to business, Lee filled Anstead in on their famous guest.

"Did you know that during the filming of Bridget Jones's Diary, Renee spoke with a British accent even when she wasn't on set?" Lee told Anstead. "In fact, she kept it up until the wrap party!"

Celebrity IOU: Joyride Trailer
Renee Zellweger, Ant Anstead and Cristy Lee on Celebrity IOU: Joyride. Discovery+

Anstead, who was born and raised in the U.K., was visibly shocked by this news, but not for the reason Lee anticipated.

"Are you telling me that Bridget Jones — Renee Zellweger — isn't British?" he asked, to which Lee replied that the actress is actually from Texas.

"You're like a dream crusher for me," Anstead jokingly told her.

Ant Anstead - Renee Zellweger
Ant Anstead/Instagram

It turned out Zellweger being American wasn't a total dealbreaker for Anstead, as PEOPLE confirmed that he and the Judy star had begun dating in June, after instantly clicking on the show.

An entertainment source told PEOPLE that despite being an unlikely duo, the two-time Academy Award winner and the master mechanic bonded over their common interests.

"Sometimes two people just meet and click, and the timing is right," the source said. "Renée is creative...and often goes for guys who think out of the box. She's smart, thoughtful and always looking to expand horizons and nurture those around her."

renee zellweger and ant anstead
Ant Anstead and Renée Zellweger (R) pictured with guests Lydia and Doug McLaughlin.

The couple made their first public appearance together at a gala event for Radford Motors in Santa Ana, Calif., on Aug. 7.

"They are getting pretty serious about each other," a source close to the couple told PEOPLE earlier this month. "They're both busy with various projects and their careers, but they have a major attraction to each other."

RELATED VIDEO: Renee Zellweger Banters With Now-Boyfriend Ant Anstead in Premiere of His New Show, Celebrity IOU: Joyride

Zellweger has also gotten to know Anstead's almost-two-year-old son, Hudson, whom he shares with ex-wife Christina Haack.

"They do beach outings, go for ice cream and other child-friendly activities," another source told PEOPLE. "They're spending most of their time together in Laguna Beach since Ant lives there, and they seem very happy."

Ant Anstead son
Ant Anstead/ instagram

News of their romance came days after Anstead finalized his divorce from Haack, 38, whom he was married to for less than two years. Haack has since confirmed her new relationship with Austin-based realtor Joshua Hall.

Celebrity IOU: Joyride began streaming on Discovery+ on Monday, August 23. New episodes will drop on Mondays.

Related Articles