Who Is Renée Zellweger's Boyfriend? All About Ant Anstead

Renée Zellweger and Ant Anstead started dating after she appeared on his TV show in 2021.

Ant Anstead
Ant Anstead. Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty

When Renée Zellweger and British TV personality Ant Anstead went public with their relationship, there was much more behind the story of their initial meeting.

The U.K. native and host of Wheeler Dealers became a familiar face as Christina Haack's car-loving, jokester husband on her HGTV show Christina on the Coast. But eight months after the couple announced their split in September 2020, after less than two years of marriage, Anstead moved on with the Oscar-winning actress.

PEOPLE confirmed Zellweger and Anstead were dating after meeting in June 2021 on the set of his Discovery+ show, Celebrity IOU: Joyride, in which she appeared. TMZ was the first outlet to report on the new couple.

"There is so much respect between them," an entertainment source told PEOPLE in September 2021. "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."

But Anstead had a fascinating life on and off-screen, long before his high-profile romances.

So, who is the man that has captured Renée Zellweger's heart? Here's everything to know about Ant Anstead and his relationship with the Judy actress.

He started his career as a police officer

Ant Anstead
Ant Anstead Instagram

Before turning his love of cars into a full-time job, Anstead was a police officer back in his native England. His law enforcement career started when he was 18 and ended at 25. He became one of the U.K.'s youngest armed police officers when he joined the tactical fire-arm unit at 23.

"I knew I didn't want to go down the education route with University etc., so ended up a copper, and I can honestly say, it's the best decision I have ever made," Anstead told Influx in 2016. "I loved being in the police ... I received two commendations for bravery and have faced a number of life-threatening incidents — really opening my eyes to what humans are capable of. When you're standing in front of someone armed — that's real fear — it kind of makes standing on stage or in front of a camera easy."

He's written two books

Ant Anstead and Renee Zellweger
Ant Anstead Instagram

The TV star also has a passion for writing. He has penned two books to date and mentioned plans for a third. In 2018, he released Cops and Robbers: The Story of the British Police Car and Petrol Head Parenting: How to Diagnose and Nurture a Petrolhead — a children's book for budding car lovers.

He played semi-professional soccer for 15 years

A true Brit, Anstead is also a great "football" player. Throughout his athletic career, he played over 700 games in the Ryman League in the positions of goalkeeper and striker.

Anstead appeared on Christina on the Coast, playing in a recreational soccer league in California with his family cheering him on from the sidelines.

He's even more famous in England

In 2014, Anstead starred on the U.K. series For the Love of Cars as a restoration expert. He's also been the charismatic mechanic on Wheelers and Dealers, another auto-centric show produced for Discovery U.K. and the Velocity Channel in the U.S.

Anstead moved to California upon joining season 14 in 2017 but revealed in November 2020 that he'd be leaving the series. In addition to Joyride, featuring Mary J. Blige, Octavia Spencer and James Marsden, Anstead appears alongside Property Brothers' Drew Scott on Drew's Dream Car on Discovery+.

During a trip to London early on in his relationship with Haack, he documented being recognized by a fan on a pedicab ride in the city. The fan, coincidentally, was a police officer.

He's a world record holder

Ant Anstead and Renee Zellweger
Ant Anstead/Instagram

Anstead holds the World Record for the most expensive straight-six Aston Martin ever sold at auction. He restored then sold the sports car for £150,000 (approximately $193,275).

He has his own production company

In 2014, he started his own production company called Ant Anstead Limited. He also produced and starred in a TV documentary called The World's Most Expensive Cars in 2017.

He built his first car before he could drive

Ant Anstead
Ant Anstead Instagram

Anstead has said he loved to build and fix anything he could get his hands on as a child, going as far as building his first car from a kit at 16.

"Cars have always been my guilty pleasure," he told Influx. "I didn't even have a driving license but knew I wanted to build cars. I remember, as a 14-year-old, walking to the local cattle market and buying a lawnmower to power my wooden soapbox…"

He's fighting for a cure for MS

Anstead actively supports Harrison's Fund, a charity that hopes to find a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The organization is named for a boy currently fighting the disease.

On Nov. 13, 2017, Anstead posted a photo on Instagram of himself with the namesake for Harrison's Fund. "We did an amazing thing this weekend raising over £50k for charity!" he wrote in the caption. "So super proud of everyone involved and this 11 year boy! Harrison is a legend!"

He thought Zellweger was British

Zellweger memorably portrayed the British fictional character, Bridget Jones, in three films, Bridget Jones's Diary (2001), Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004) and Bridget Jones's Baby (2016). She was so good at portraying the hopeless romantic that Anstead actually thought that Zellweger was British before he met her.

In the introduction of the episode of Celebrity IOU: Joyride that featured Zellweger, Anstead's co-host, Cristy Lee, talked about Zellweger's accent in the original film.

"Did you know that during the filming of Bridget Jones's Diary, Renée 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!"

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

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

The Property Brothers take credit for introducing him to Zellweger

Ant Anstead and Renee Zellweger
Ant Anstead Instagram

Though Anstead and Zellweger first met when she appeared on the debut episode of Anstead's Celebrity IOU: Joyride, a spin-off of the show Celebrity IOU hosted by Jonathan and Drew Scott, better known as the Property Brothers.

During an April 2022 appearance on PEOPLE (The TV Show), Jonathan said they "take credit" for the pairing since Anstead's show was based on their program. The Scott brothers are also executive producers of the series.

Drew said that if the couple ends up getting married that he "better be the ring bearer, that's all I care about."

Updated by
Mackenzie Schmidt

Mackenzie Schmidt is the Home and Travel Editor for PEOPLE. She's worked at PEOPLE for over five years as a writer and editor on the Lifestyle team.

Related Articles