While Renée Zellweger is a famed Hollywood actress today, one can only wonder where she is from and where she grew up prior to her impressive ascent to fame.
Before achieving Hollywood fame, Renée Zellweger was born and raised in the small town of Katy, Texas. But while Renée is a Texan by origin, her parents are both European immigrants, with her mother being of Norwegian, and her father of Swiss origin.
Read more below to find out more about Renée Zellweger’s Texan upbringing as well as her distinctly European roots.
The Girl from Texas
Renée Zellweger was born on April 25, 1969, in Katy, a small town in south-east Texas.
She was raised in Katy and attended Katy High School. After graduating, she moved to Austin, Texas, to study English at the University of Texas.
It is there that she got into acting, when she took a drama course as an elective. After graduating, she subsequently stayed in Austin and began auditioning for local and independent films.
This is also where she met and befriended fellow Texan actor Matthew McConaughey on the set for the sequel ‘Texa Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation’ in 1995.
Having grown up in Texas, Zellweger until today displays the ‘down-to-earth Texas charm of her upbringing’, according to an interview with the Guardian. The newspaper described her as softly spoken, smart and reflective.
Despite the fact that she left Texas since and moved to Hollywood to pursue a successful acting career, Zellweger remains close to her Texan family and roots.
She candidly admitted: ‘I consider Austin home, and I have a lot of extended family here, so I get back a lot.’
While she remains a real Texan at heart, Zellweger is one of the most famous Texans in Hollywood today, alongside Matthew McConaughey, and Beyonce, who is from Houston, Texas.
Most recently, she won an Oscar in 2019 for her lead performance of Judy Garland in the biotopic ‘Judy.’
Watch the trailer for ‘Judy’ below:
But there is more to Zellweger to than her typically Texan upbringing. In fact, the famed actress boats distinctly European roots.
Renée’s mother, Kjellfrid Irene Andreassen is a Norwegian-born former nurse of Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish descent. She moved to the United States to work as a governess for a Norwegian family in Texas.
Meanwhile Renée’s father, Erich Emil Zellweger, is a Swiss-born mechanical and electrical engineer who moved to the United States to work in the oil refining business. He is from the Swiss town of Au, St. Gallen and even has links to royalty by descending from an Appenzell royal family.
Renée also has an older brother, Drew Zellweger, who was born in 1967 and works as a marketing executive today.
While the Zellweger’s are a tight-knit family, Renée has previously spoken about the way being a child of European immigrants impacted her upbringing in Texas.
In a candid interview with the Guardian she admitted: ‘I very much feel my Texan roots, but there’s no denying that I’m a child of European people.’
She explained that with her mother being Norwegian and her father Swiss she always felt ‘different’ growing up.
Despite feeling alienated from peers due to her European origin, Zellweger forged a successful career in acting for herself.
And while she mostly played in exclusive Hollywood productions, Zellweger returned to her European origins when starring in the hugely successful romantic comedy ‘Bridget Jones Diary.’
The movie was an European-American production, was filmed in England and starred British actors Hugh Grant and Colin Firth.
This suggests that while Texas is where Zellweger grew up and began acting, she has been able to draw on her European roots in her acting career ever since.