The Oscar winner stars as screen legend Judy Garland in the new biopic Judy

By Julie Jordan
September 25, 2019 08:45 AM

Renée Zellweger knows what it takes to make her happy.

The Oscar winner, 50, who took a break from Hollywood from 2010-2016, has found a new rhythm in life. Now she’s earning Oscar buzz for her portrayal of screen legend Judy Garland in the new biopic Judy.

“I have a little bit of understanding about what it’s like to live with a public persona,” she tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “I understand the vast gulf between what is written about that persona and the truth of their life.”

Beloved for her roles in 1996’s Jerry Maguire and the Bridget Jones movies, Zellweger recently revealed she was briefly depressed and burned out before taking a break from acting. “I think I was just tired,” she told PEOPLE in 2016.

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Away from the spotlight, she learned “that I like being privately creative very much,” she says. “Then it was high time to get a dog again.”

  • For more about Renée Zellweger, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.
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Currently single — she was last linked to musician Doyle Bramhall II — Zellweger has learned that love “kind of stays,” she says. “And that over time, even when you think it’s gone, reflecting on it, it’s still very much there. It’s kind of great, actually.”

Renée Zellweger posing with rescue dogs at PEOPLE's TIFF studio

These days the actress enjoys the simplicities of her life at home with her two dogs in L.A. “If ever you’ve had a bad day, normalcy is pretty damn good,” she says.

Zellweger credits her family for keeping her most grounded. “And the dogs certainly help,” she adds. “Just little reminders of what’s truly valuable.”

Judy hits theaters on Sept. 27.

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