LONDON, June 6 (UPI) -- Renee Zellweger is opening up about her much-discussed retreat from the spotlight.
The 47-year-old actress explained her years-long hiatus from acting in the July issue of British Vogue. Zellweger, who now has several projects in the works, last starred in the 2010 movie My Own Love Song.
"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," the star said. "You cannot be a good storyteller if you don't have life experiences, and you can't relate to people."
Zellweger starred in nearly 20 films between 2000 and 2010, including Bridget Jones's Diary, Chicago and Cold Mountain. The success of her movies led to plenty of offers, including some "wonderful" roles that were difficult to turn down.
"As a creative person, saying no ... is hard," the actress admitted. "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."
Speculation about Zellweger's disappearance from Hollywood had intensified after she attended the 2014 Elle Women in Hollywood Awards. Many thought she looked unrecognizable at the event, even suggesting the star had plastic surgery.
"I'm glad folks think I look different! I'm living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows," she said at the time. "It seems the folks who come digging around for some nefarious truth which doesn't exist won't get off my porch until I answer the door."
Zellweger will next star in Bridget Jones's Baby, which opens Sept. 16 and co-stars Colin Firth and Patrick Dempsey. The actress is also slated for The Whole Truth with Keanu Reeves and Same Kind of Different as Me with Jon Voight.