Jim Carrey Said Then-Girlfriend Renée Zellweger's Idea of a Good Time Was Renting a U-Haul
#TBT: Check in every Thursday as we throw it back to some of our favorite celebrity couples of all time.
Who: Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe, and SAG Award-winning actress Renée Zellweger, 50, and two-time Golden Globe-winning actor Jim Carrey, 57.
How They Met: Though they got to know each other on the set of Me, Myself & Irene in 1999, Zellweger insists they’d met prior. “We have business associates in common and a couple of mutual friends, so I'd known about him and said hello and things for a long time, and then met him a couple of years ago at a dinner party. So I'd known him for a while,” she told The Guardian.
But it wasn’t until after they wrapped the Farrelly brothers comedy that anything transpired between the two. According to one half of the director-producer-writer duo, Bobby Farrelly, Carrey “flipped for [Renée] immediately,” but dating guys from work wasn’t quite her style.
“I liked him, a lot, but you're not going (to the set) for the love connection," Zellweger later told CNN. “He was sick over her,” Peter Farrelly corroborated. “I got to the point where I tried to make him feel better by saying, ‘Hey, she’s not that great.'”
Eventually, and in true rom-com fashion, the tides turned. “When the picture wrapped, we'd spoken a couple of times on the phone and then all those rumors came out that I was dating him. I was so mad,” Zellweger explained. “I said, 'No, it's not true.' And then I went home … and I went, 'God, I do miss him.’”
Why We Loved Them: They were so sweet! Whenever presented with the opportunity to discuss their relationship, Renée and Jim didn’t bother with that “no comment” nonsense — they gushed about their S.O.s while keeping their personal lives just that. Zellweger told Entertainment Weekly that their courtship was an “unexpected, wonderful thing,” while Carrey called his girlfriend “absolutely a gem of a human being.” Carrey also credited Renée with keeping him grounded, telling EW, “She thinks having a good time is renting a U-Haul and taking furniture to Texas. She’s real in that way and I absolutely love it.”
When They Peaked: File under “things you don’t see in 2019”: at the Golden Globes in 2000, the night during which Carrey earned an award for his performance in Man on the Moon, he and Zellweger walked the carpet in the rain and — *gasp* — held their own umbrella. It feels hyperbolic to call someone down to earth for holding an umbrella, but have you seen paparazzi shots in the rain? Most stars have assistants or body guards shielding them from the elements.
The Breakup: Just a year after taking their romance public, Zellweger and Carrey called things off. By December of 2000, the bubble had burst and, according to Grinch director Ron Howard, “the media attention just heightened the pressure” on the relationship. Zellweger’s rep shared that they “just wanted different things,” which is the most vague cliché the world has ever known, but may refer to Carrey’s role as a father? His daughter, Jane, was 13 at the time of their relationship.
Rumors of a broken engagement were splashed across the tabloids, but Zellweger maintained that was false. “It was all made up,” she told Cosmopolitan, clarifying that the rumors began after she and Carrey had been dating for just three months. “As if I would consider marriage after only three months!” In that same interview she revealed that though she and Carrey had spent a year together, she was in England for half of it, presumably shooting Bridget Jones’s Diary. Working on different continents probably didn’t help on the romance front.
Where They Are Now: Carrey has been married twice, first to Melissa Womer (the mother of his daughter) in 1987, and then to Lauren Holly for a year in 1996. He hasn’t remarried since his second divorce, though he’s shared relationships with Jenny McCarthy, the late Cathriona White, and is currently linked to his 35-year-old Kidding co-star Ginger Gonzaga.
After laying low for a couple years following White’s death and the subsequent wrongful death lawsuit leveled by her family (it was thrown out in early 2018 ), Carrey returned to the spotlight in Showtime’s Kidding, which is set to return for a second season. He’ll make his big screen comeback later this year as villain Dr. Robotnik in the live-action Sonic the Hedgehog movie.
As for Renée, she surprised the world in 2005 with a short-lived marriage to country star Kenny Chesney. They wed just five months after first meeting (see “As if I would consider marriage after only three months!” above), and separated four months later. Zellweger then shared a year or two with Case 39 co-star Bradley Cooper before she began dating her current beau, Doyle Bramhall II. She’s reportedly been with the 50-year-old musician since 2012.
Like Carrey, Zellweger recently returned to the spotlight after a hiatus. Her highly-anticipated Netflix series, What/If, launches on May 24, and later this year she’ll appear as legendary actress and singer Judy Garland in biopic Judy, out this September.