Renee Zellweger studying international policy at university

Renee Zellweger

Renee Zellweger has been taking classes in international policy at a Los Angeles university, and plans to continue her studies despite returning to acting.

The Bridget Jones's Diary star began a six-year hiatus from the screen in 2010, but has now returned to the profession and is a hot tip to win a Best Actress Oscar next year for her portrayal of Judy Garland in the biopic Judy.

In an interview with British newspaper The Times, Zellweger, who studied English at the University of Texas in Austin before taking up acting, revealed she went back to school during her break to study international relations - and wants to stay in higher education.

"I was just interested in learning a little bit more about international policy, getting a little smarter about it all, to see if it was something I had an aptitude for away from the news on the television set," the actress, who refuses to name the name of the institution as she plans to return to study there, said. "It was fantastic."

During her hiatus, the 50-year-old also travelled to places like Thailand and Liberia and met the latter country's then-president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

However, the star says her main reason for temporarily quitting acting was not to embark on a new career in diplomacy, but for the sake of her wellbeing.

"I wasn't healthy," she explains. "I wasn't taking care of myself. I was the last thing on my list of priorities...I needed to not have something to do all the time, to not know what I'm going to be doing for the next two years in advance. I wanted to allow for some accidents. There had to be some quiet for the ideas to slip in."

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