Love, aging, creativity, domestication, a realistic work schedule, becoming a happier, healthier person.
"I did work that allows for being still, making a home, loving someone, learning new things, growing as a creative person and finally growing into myself," the 45-year-old actress said – apropos of her face. "Perhaps I look different. Who doesn't as they get older?! Ha. But I am different. I'm happy."
The more pertinent question may be why female celebrities feel compelled to explain themselves this way at all – to answer, as Zellweger put it, "the folks who come digging around."
The actress's wordy rebuttal brought to mind something Jennifer Lawrence said after "The Fappening," which saw private nude photographs of female celebrities leaked by hackers. In an interview with Vanity Fair earlier this month, Lawrence expressed laudable outrage at what she termed a sex crime; her body, she said, does not "come with the territory" of being a celebrity.
But even Lawrence – an outspoken, "real person" celebrity – described feeling a need to publicly account for herself after the leak got out. She fended off that feeling and delayed issuing a statement directly after the fact. But eventually, Lawrence felt obliged to explain the photographs she had privately shared with her boyfriend.
According to Vanity Fair, "Lawrence had been tempted to write a statement when news of the privacy violation broke, she says, but 'Every single thing that I tried to write made me cry or get angry. I started to write an apology, but I don't have anything to say I'm sorry for. I was in a loving, healthy, great relationship for four years. It was long distance, and either your boyfriend is going to look at porn or he's going to look at you.' "
So why this need to explain, overshare and apologize?
In some cases, it has to do with keeping your image and career intact: Think American sweetheart Reese Witherspoon apologizing in embarrassment after she went to town on a police officer and got arrested for disorderly conduct. "The words I used that night definitely do not reflect who I am," Witherspoon shuddered then.
But when the matter is not a DUI but your own face, something else is at play. There is a good-girl urge in these apologias, to clarify and account for yourself at all times, even when viciously attacked.
There are those in the Hollywood stratosphere who feel celebrity obliges them to the public, and those who don't: the Rihannas, Marianne Faithfulls and Courtney Loves of the world, women who scandalize and disappoint the public and remain unapologetic about it. (They tend to be "bad girls," but there is also Julia Roberts, who is always deliciously off-script.)
Zellweger's rambling confessional reminded me of the advice Johnny Depp gave Kate Moss when the two were dating, as detailed in Maureen Callahan's new book Champagne Supernovas, about the wild 1990s fashion scene.
"He taught me a lot about fame," Moss said of Depp. "He told me 'never complain, never explain'. That's why I don't use Twitter and things like that. I don't want people to know what is true all the time."
Depp was likely cribbing from American short story writer Raymond Carver, whose exact words to fellow writers were, "Don't complain, don't explain."
That might be good advice for women everywhere.