Credit: RANKIN for EW

Long before Bridget Jones’s Baby became a reality, Renee Zellweger found herself in the spotlight in October of 2014 when she attended an Elle awards event in Beverly Hills. After walking the red carpet for the first time in years – the 46-year-old actress had been on a self-imposed break from film since 2010 – Zellweger became a trending topic on Twitter because of her appearance.

At the time, Zellweger responded to the Internet chatter by telling PEOPLE, “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.” Now that it’s been a year and Zellweger is preparing to promote Bridget Jones’s Baby (out Sept. 16, 2016), the actress exclusively spoke to Entertainment Weekly and admitted that in some ways, the experience changed her.

“What good comes from knowing that something like that happened? Less fear. Sure,” said the actress, while in London earlier this month to film the third movie in the Bridget Jones franchise.

Zellweger admits that she never read or saw how her appearance was exhaustively covered by the media last year.

“All that I know about is what friends and associates would send in texts and emails,” she recalled. “They were sending support, which means that I must have needed it, and I prefer it that way. So when people come up to me to ask ‘How did that feel?’ I don’t know, and I like it like that. I don’t know. I know it sounds pretty unlikely that a person might be able to make herself, I guess, keep clear of those words or of that experience, but I have and it takes effort. But I have succeeded.”

To continue reading more on Bridget Jones’s Baby, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands now, or buy it here.

Bridget Jones's Baby
  • Movie
  • 118 minutes