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Renée Zellweger Earned A Fortune Acting — But You Won't Be Able To Guess Her Highest-Earning Roles

Sarah Midkiff

Renée Zellweger has bounced effortlessly from light, romantic comedy to serious dramatic roles to Broadway song and dance numbers for years. Her versatility has earned her an Oscar, a BAFTA award, three Golden Globes, and three SAG awards.

Many people consider her role as Dorothy Boyd in Jerry Maguire to be her breakout moment, but she acted in a couple of cult classics before that. Before making “You had me at hello” one of the most identifiable lines in film history, she was in the ‘90s coming-of-age films Reality Bites and Empire Records. In 2001, she took on one of her most iconic roles, Bridget Jones, in Bridget Jones’ Diary, which went on to have two sequels: Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and Bridget Jones’ Baby. Thanks to these films, Zellweger is permanently on our list of actors making recurring appearances during a cozy movie night in.

Zellweger cemented herself as a talented dramatic actor in 2003 as Ruby Thewes in Cold Mountain, snagging an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a BAFTA award, and a SAG award for her performance. By then, she was already an award-winning actress with two Golden Globes for her performances in Nurse Betty and Chicago.

According to Money, Zellweger’s films have brought in more than $2.5 billion at the box offices worldwide. Chicago, Jerry Maguire, and Bridget Jones’ Diary being in the top five highest-earning films for Zellweger comes as no shock, but it might surprise you to learn that the other two rounding out the top five are Shark Tale and Bee Movie. They pulled in $367 million and $287 million, respectively. Zellweger has lent her voice to numerous animated films over the years, but those are by far the best known. She’s had a few credits as a writer and producer as well, but her focus seems to have always been performing.

Zellweger spent over a decade as one of Hollywood’s most sought after actresses before stepping away from the limelight in 2010 for a much-needed hiatus. "I can’t remember if there was one defining moment. I don’t think so. I think I was just taking inventory of my life,” she told People in 2018. “Everything was about going from one professional obligation to the next. And that's what I call them now, when they should have been exciting opportunities, creative opportunities or life adventures.” Zellweger had spent so much time working on her career, but came to the realization that she wanted to take some time to focus on other aspects of her life off-screen. “I had made so many promises to myself about things that I wanted to explore, things I wanted to try, and how I would like to grow as a person that I had made no time for. And I thought, ‘That’s enough,’” she said.

Her return to the spotlight came in 2016 reprising of one of her most beloved characters, Bridget Jones. Since then, she has jumped back into acting with both feet — she has already filmed five movies since. This year, she made a splash in the Netflix original anthology What/If, stealing every scene as the composed and calculating venture capitalist Anne Montgomery. Zellweger is also taking on the legendary role of Judy Garland in the biopic Judy which is set to come out September 27, 2019.

While all net worth estimates you find online are just that...estimates, Money calculates Zellweger’s net worth to be about $60 million. This was in 2016, right on the heels of her return to acting, shortly after Bridget Jones’ Baby but before What/If and Judy had even been announced, let alone released. It will have inevitably gone up since then, but the only people who truly know that are Zellweger herself and her accountant.

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