Renée Zellweger Talks for the First Time About Meeting Boyfriend Ant Anstead: 'Serendipity'

The couple started dating shortly after meeting on the set of his Discovery+ show, Celebrity IOU: Joyride, in early June 2021

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

Renée Zellweger is opening up about the beginnings of her relationship with Ant Anstead for the first time.

In a cover story for Harper's Bazaar latest issue, out April 5, the 52-year-old Oscar winner discussed how she and the British-born television personality — all thanks to the Property Brothers and Brad Pitt.

At the time she met Anstead, 42, she was still mourning the loss of her friend and publicist Nanci Ryder, who died of ALS in 2020 at 67.

"It was around Judy," Zellweger tells Bazaar. "Late night, and I remember I watched the Property Brothers with Brad Pitt." The feature's author, Mickey Rapkin, clarifies that she wasn't binge watching alongside Pitt, but rather referring to the actor's appearance on HGTV stars Drew and Jonathan Scott's series, Celebrity IOU.

The show features A-listers paying back friends and mentors who have helped them get where they are today by surprising them with a home makeover facilitated by the handy twins. Kim Kardashian, Kevin Hart, Melissa McCarthy, Viola Davis and many more have also guest starred.

Renée Zellweger Covers the April 2022 Reinvention Issue of Harper's BAZAAR
Mel Bles

The outlet reported that Zellweger felt compelled to give back to the two twin brothers and nurses who cared for Ryder during her illness, Jerome and Jerald Cowan.

At the time, a spin-off show titled Celebrity IOU: Joyride was in development. It featured the same starry concept, but with amazing custom cars instead of home renos as the gift. Intrigued by the prospect, Zellweger decided to participate.

She met the show's host, Anstead, on set and the pair quickly hit it off.

Ant Anstead and Renee Zellweger
Ant Anstead and Renee Zellweger. Ant Anstead/Instagram

When asked by Harper's Bazaar about whether Ryder, in a way, brought the two together, she responded, "Yeah, we do joke about that. She's always doing her best. It made me smile. It made me smile to think on this, yeah, the serendipity of it all."

Renée Zellweger Covers the April 2022 Reinvention Issue of Harper's BAZAAR
Mel Bles

Anstead and Zellweger started dating shortly after meeting in early June 2021. The pair made their first public appearance as a couple in August and went Instagram official with their relationship a month later.

"There is so much respect between them," an entertainment source told PEOPLE in September. "They spend as much time as possible together when they aren't working on other projects. They truly like each other as well as their romantic attraction. The relationship is serious."

WATCH THIS: Renee Zellweger Banters With Now-Boyfriend Ant Anstead in Premiere of His Show, Celebrity IOU: Joyride

While Zellweger has been quiet about their relationship before, Anstead has opened up about how his new love has impacted him.

"I'm really grateful to the show because these amazing things happen in your world and sometimes when things collide, they collide at the most obscure times when you least expect them. And that's what happened in this case," he told PEOPLE exclusively of the relationship in September. Adding "I"m grateful for that."

Earlier that same month, he shared, "Renée and my relationship is something that's really private. It's something I'm not really willing to talk too much about. It's really early in our relationship and I don't want to put any pressure on that."

Ant Anstead Instagram

Things have only gotten more serious for the couple. Over Christmas, she met his older kids, Amelie, 18, and Archie, 15, in person for the first time. (They live primarily in the U.K. with their mother and had not been able to visit their dad in California due to Covid travel restrictions.)

"It was great," the car expert told PEOPLE. "I mean, Renée's so personable, and so great with people, and they've met a few times on FaceTime, so everybody was excited to finally get together. Of course, everybody got on famously. It's really nice."

ant anstead
ant anstead / instagram

And Zellweger is already close to Ant's son Hudson, 2, whom he shares with his second ex wife, HGTV star Christina Haack. An insider previously told PEOPLE that the actress has loved getting to know the toddler.

"Renée spends a lot of time with Ant in Laguna Beach," a southern California-based source told PEOPLE in September. "Ant is very focused on his son. Renée seems to very much understand this focus. She seems to enjoy all the fun outings with his son. She is always very playful and sweet with Hudson."

Read the full feature and see more photos in the April "Reinvention" issue of Harper's Bazaar, on newsstands April 5, and on

Season three of Celebrity IOU will kick off on April 18 at 9 p.m. on HGTV and be available to stream on discovery+ the same day.

Related Articles