Renee Zellweger loves gay men. A lot.
She was speaking with Vulture about her latest film Judy, where she plays legendary actress Judy Garland.
The interview explored commonalities between Zellweger and Garland, and it goes to Garland’s status as a gay icon. Zellweger said a journalist recently asked her about her relationship to “the gay community,” and she didn’t have a response ready.
“Now I just sound like a jerk, because I don’t think about it, which kind of sounds like, ‘Oh, you’re just indifferent to it,'” she said, when the reality is “the complete opposite.”
But now she has thought of it some more, and she wondered “what isn’t” her relationship to gay men?
Sure, she doesn’t have a gay kid, parent, or brother, but… “I’m an ex-girlfriend of [a gay man], I’m a best friend of, I’m a mentor of, I’m a student of, I’m a client of, a partner of, I’m a neighbor, I’m a boss, a collaborator, I’m a patient, I’m a customer, I’m a constituent.”
Notice the first one on that list? Well, she’s not naming him.
But Zellweger turned the tables on interviewer Jonathan Van Meter, and she asks him about being gay.
“In the experience of coming up as a closeted gay person, how does it manifest in character? What are the common denominators?” she asked.
Van Meter responded in the way a lot of gay people would: the closet leaves someone with rage and stunted growth.
“My experience of it as an observer is the opposite from that,” Zellweger said.
“I see that they’re sort of an earlier maturation. And I see that there is that determination that you’re talking about, but it’s not without thoughtfulness. What I witness is a more evolved level of empathy.”
“Having been on the receiving end of such unexpected and damaging unkindness…. See, I’m attracted to people who have had your experience.”
Now that’s being an ally.