Oral History: Renée Zellweger About Texas

by Elisa Leonelli October 19, 2020
Renée Zellweger

HFPA Archives

Renée Zellweger won four Golden Globes as Best Actress, for Nurse Betty (2000), Chicago (2002), Cold Mountain (2003), Judy (2019). HFPA journalists interviewed her multiple times, but we will never forget the first time when she spoke about her debut film The Whole Wide World (1996) directed by Dan Ireland from the memoirs by Texas schoolteacher Novalyne Price Ellis.

Born in Katy, Texas, Zellweger said:

“I adore the place that I come from and I’m homesick every day, there are many things that I miss. My hometown is a farming community and there’s a lot of good, simple people there. It’s a different kind of person that comes from Texas, very open and hospitable, friendly, and warm. I guess that would be shocking to people who aren’t used to that, you could think that they’re getting into your business, but they just want to make sure that you’re happy and that you feel welcome.”

“Growing up in a small town was such a blessing, because I also had a window to the rest of the world through my parents, my Swiss mother and my Norwegian father, so I had the best of both worlds. There were cultural differences because I was learning one thing at school from the people around me and other things at home; there was a different value system, what was emphasized in their cultures wasn’t necessarily important here in America. So I was aware of what was going on outside of my immediate part of the world, and also had the charm and sense of community of a small town, the feeling that there’s enough time to appreciate and notice all the things around you because you’re not being rushed to the next step. There’s quiet, so you can sit and just experience things and that’s great. It’s wonderful for a kid, you can run in the street because there aren’t many cars, one or two a day, and you see them for miles, so there’s no potential threat of being hurt. You run free, you play in the ditch and you’re rowdy. It’s a healthy lifestyle for a kid, especially healthy for the imagination, so I treasure that, and I had a very hard time admitting that my childhood was ending.”