The 50-year-old Judystar covers the December issue of InStyleand shares how she's managed to silence negative noises throughout her career in Hollywood.
"Different hardships that are unexpected can sort of assist you moving forward. With this job, it's peculiar because you're not born with the faculties to know how to handle the things that come your way. I found that shifting your perspective is really important," she explains. "I don't internalize things, and I don't personalize things, and I don't engage. I spend a lot of time focusing on the work itself, not the consequences of the work or people's perceptions of it."
Zellweger says that she learned those lessons "pretty early on," after one of her breakups made its round on the tabloids.
"I was devastated about a breakup, and it was plastered all over the tabloids. None of it true, all of it humiliating. Never mind that living the experience [of the relationship] was plenty," she recalls, before sharing how an experience with her brother helped her to stop caring what others say or think.
"I was at a supermarket with my brother. And he saw some of those magazines, and, unbeknownst to me, he bought them. He opened one while I'm driving down Sunset Boulevard, and I looked over, and his shoulders were shaking," she recounts. "I was trying to figure out what was going on. I was like, 'Is he crying?' He was in tears; he was laughing so hard, he could barely breathe."
"He's reading my quotes from this supposed interview I had done. Things I supposedly said about this personal relationship that I have never talked about and never will. And he was reading them in a voice that he imagined this fictional person to be," Zellweger continues. "And then we were both laughing, because of the tone of voice and the delivery of these lines."
That experience made her realize that tabloid reports are "not a proper representation of you and how you live your life."
"The choices you make, this is not. It is entertainment, and it's funny if you look at it in the right way," she says. "You wouldn't choose it, and you have to resign yourself to certain things that aren't natural, and to the fact that you will not necessarily determine how you will be remembered in the world. That what someone chooses to put out there about you has nothing to do with the truth of your life [or what that means for] your grandchildren when they are asking about who you are. That kind of thing."
In addition to discussing navigating tabloid culture, Zellweger also spoke about aging in Hollywood, telling the magazine that "it doesn't consume me because it's inevitable."
"It's a privilege. And, I don't know, I'd rather celebrate each phase of my life and be present in it than mourn something that's passed. I don't want to miss this moment to be something that I used to be," she says. "That's for someone else now. And good luck to them, because you have to survive a lot to move forward to your next state."
"I'm not saying I'm canceling my gym membership anytime soon, because I'm not. I'd rather be a healthy, productive woman in each stage of my life than apologetic. I also don't want to perpetuate the notion that somehow moving forward in your life is wrong," she continues. "I feel energized and full of wonder and excitement about what's ahead."