EXCLUSIVE: Renée Zellweger on why she thinks Judy Garland is ‘100%’ a gay icon

Renée Zellweger tells PinkNews why Judy Garland is such a gay icon (PinkNews)

Renée Zellweger, fresh from playing the late Wizard of Oz star in new movie Judy – even singing in character – tells PinkNews she “100%” thinks Garland is a gay icon.

“100%,” she laughs. Zellweger cites the Wizard of Oz as being a key reason why Garland remains to be considered such a gay icon.

Speaking exclusively to PinkNews, she explains: “It’s a journey back to self and self-realisation and recognising that actually you are enough – a sentiment that in the end is shared by this group of misfits that have found each other and themselves.

“And that would be indelible, I think, in the eyes of a child who feels somewhat marginalised.

“And then again through Judy’s performance, the things that she sings about – you know, the difficulties of life, being misunderstood, not being able to find love or happiness, or her determination to carry on both through her songs and in her life because she was also misunderstood.

“As she went through her performance career and her life evolved, she found herself living sometimes the content of those songs.

“So not only does she sing like she sees you and understands you, but she relates to you in some way.

“Also I think she was one of the first iconic performers who was internationally celebrated who acknowledged her audience of people in the community.

“And I can imagine, at a time when you could not only live your life without being ostracised or ridiculed or worse, it was also illegal, which is hard to fathom today.

“But to have someone of her status acknowledge you publicly? That must have meant everything.”

Judy Garland

American singer and actress Judy Garland (1922 – 1969) on stage, circa 1960. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Zellweger also spoke to PinkNews about her first time going to a gay bar, attending Pride in London and the touching moment she knew she had to be a LGBT+ ally.

“The first time I went to a gay bar? It’s happened a lot,” she laughs.

“I would’ve had to snuck out and stayed out all night, much to the chagrin of my mum who might be watching this now.

“Sorry mum,” she jokes.

Watch Renée Zellweger play First Times: