Renée Zellweger Turns 50 as She Makes Her Major Return to the Spotlight

Renee Zellweger has a Netflix show and Judy Garland biopic on the horizon

Renée Zellweger has hit a major milestone — her 50th birthday!

The Oscar winner turns the big 5-0 on Thursday in the midst of a return to the spotlight that is turning heads.

The actress took a six-year break from the business in 2010 after after over a decade of making multiple movies a year to focus on her personal life. She came back for 2016’s Bridget Jones’s Baby, revisiting the beloved character that made her a household name.

Zellweger told PEOPLE in 2016 that she decided to lay low after realizing that she had become unhappy with her life after making her career the priority.

2019 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones - Arrivals
John Shearer/Getty

“I can’t remember if there was one defining moment. I don’t think so. I think I was just taking inventory of my life,” she recalled. “Everything was about going from one professional obligation to the next. And that’s what I call them now, when they should have been exciting opportunities, creative opportunities or life adventures. Like laughing, driving to Sony, because Tom Cruise is there.”

And she’s jumped back into acting with fervor after her return. Zellweger has already filmed five movies since 2016 — including a Judy Garland biopic that has her unrecognizable as the iconic star. The biopic is set to hit theaters on Sept. 27, putting Zellweger right in the thick of Oscars season.

Renee Zellweger
What/If. Adam Rose/Netflix

She’s also making her TV lead debut in Netflix’s What/If. Season 1 of the 10-episode series follows Zellweger as Anne, a mysterious woman who makes a lucrative but suspect offer to a pair of San Francisco newlyweds struggling to make ends meet.

What/If premieres May 24 on Netflix.

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