The 47-year-old actress appears on the cover of British Vogue‘s July issue and features in a gorgeous spread inside photographed by Patrick Demarchelier.
After the box office bomb My Own Love Song in 2010, the Oscar winner went off the grid.
For many years one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood, thanks to the Bridget Jones’s Diary juggernaut, Renée says she tried her best to “live a normal life”, although she continued to make some headlines after her split with Bradley Cooper in 2011, and then when she began dating musician Doyle Bramhall II in 2012.
“As a creative person, saying no to that wonderful once-in-a-lifetime project is hard,” says Renée, who starred in nearly 20 films between 2000 and 2010.
“But I was fatigued and wasn’t taking the time I needed to recover between projects, and it caught up with me.
“I got sick of the sound of my own voice: it was time to go away and grow up a bit.”
During her six-year break, the actress recalls, “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.
“You cannot be a good storyteller if you don’t have life experiences, and you can’t relate to people.”
Renée returns to the big screen in Bridget Jones’s Baby, co-starring Patrick Dempsey and Colin Firth, which is due out in Australia on September 15, 2016.
When the first two films were released, the actress became famous for gaining, and then losing, weight to play the part.
But Renée has never understood how that became Bridget’s defining characteristic.
“I put on a few pounds,” she tells British Vogue. “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. No male actor would get such scrutiny if he did the same thing for a role.”