In a new cover story for New York Magazine, the actress gets candid on the cruel and disrespectful comments that have been made about her appearance in recent years.
"It probably gives you a stomachache, asking me about that, doesn't it? Well, because there’s a value judgment that's placed on us," she says. "As if it somehow is a reflection of your character -- whether you’re a good person or a weak person or an authentic person."
"And the implication that I somehow needed to change what was going on because it wasn't working," she continues. "That makes me sad. I don't look at beauty in that way. And I don't think of myself in that way. I like my weird quirkiness, my offkilter mix of things. It enables me to do what I do."
Zellweger adds that she doesn't want to be "something else."
"I got hired in my blue jeans and cowboy boots with my messy hair," she recalls. "I started working like that. I didn't have to change to work. So why was I suddenly trying to fit into some mold that didn't belong to me?"
Zellweger first commented about the criticism in October 2014, telling People, "I'm glad folks think I look different! I'm living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows."
Now, at age 50, Zellweger is making her big comeback after taking some much-needed time off from acting from 2010-2016. After starring in Netflix's What/If this year, fans can next catch the actress as Judy Garland in the Rupert Goold-directed Judy, in theaters Sept. 27.
Of taking a step back from the spotlight, Zellweger tells New York Magazine that she "wasn’t healthy" and 'wasn't taking care" of herself.
"I was the last thing on my list of priorities," she explains. "[A therapist] recognized that I spent 99 percent of my life as the public persona and just a microscopic crumb of a fraction in my real life. I needed to not have something to do all the time, to not know what I’m going to be doing for the next two years in advance."
"I wanted to allow for some accidents," she adds. "There had to be some quiet for the ideas to slip in."
ET caught up with Zellweger late last month, where she opened up about transforming into the legendary Garland. "She mattered so much to so many people and she touched the lives of so many people, we want to show her the love that she shared with all of us," the actress said. "And, boy, what a special experience that was."