Renee Zellweger has been noticeably absent from Hollywood for the past six years, having last appeared onscreen in the 2010 movie My Own Love Song. As it turns out, her break from the spotlight was intentional.

“I found anonymity, so I could have exchanges with people on a human level and be seen and heard, not be defined by this image that precedes me when I walk into a room,” she said in an interview for the upcoming July issue of British Vogue. “You cannot be a good storyteller if you don’t have life experiences, and you can’t relate to people."

Zellweger continued, saying that as tough as it was to turn down certain roles, it was a necessary part of her own personal and creative growth, and allowed Zellweger the break she needed to continue working as an actress.

"As a creative person, saying no to that wonderful once-in-a-lifetime project is hard. But I was fatigued and wasn't taking the time I needed to recover between projects, and it caught up with me," she said. "I got sick of the sound of my own voice: It was time to go away and grow up a bit."

It wasn't a permanent break, though: Zellweger is gearing up to release the highly-anticipated third installment of the Bridget Jones series, Bridget Jones’s Baby. Zellweger gained between 20 to 30 pounds for the role (just as she did for the series’ earlier two films) and has faced criticism for her decision to alter her body for the movie.

“I put on a few pounds. I also put on some breasts and a baby bump. Bridget is a perfectly normal weight and I’ve never understood why it matters so much,” she said. “No male actor would get such scrutiny if he did the same thing for a role.”

Check out Zellweger's full interview when British Vogue hits newsstands on June 9.

Celebrity Transformations