Renee Zellweger has said she enjoyed the anonymity that came with her six-year hiatus from acting, before returning to appear in Bridget Jones’s Baby.

The actress was one of the star guests on the first episode of the new series of The Jonathan Ross Show, alongside her co-star Patrick Dempsey, Hollywood heavyweight John Malkovich, actress Aisling Bea, Olympic couple Laura Trott and Jason Kenny and members of the Team GB gold-winning hockey team.

Renee Zellweger has returned to acting after a six-year hiatus, starring in Bridget Jones’s Baby with Patrick Dempsey, left, and Colin Firth (Francois Mori/AP/PA)

Renee, 47, opened up to host Jonathan about her time away from the limelight, explaining that she enjoyed spending time on herself and also learning new things after returning to school.

She said: “There were a lot of things, mainly I just wanted to shift my focus a little bit and keep some promises that I had made to myself a long time ago.

“There are some things that I wanted to learn and see if I had aptitude for. I wanted to go back to school, I wanted to do things that you can’t really make time for when you’re in the cycle of making films because if you’re not preparing for one, then you’re preparing for another and while you’re filming you’ll be getting ready to start what comes next.”

Renee appears on The Jonathan Ross Show alongside Patrick Dempsey, John Malkovich, Aisling Bea, Laura Trott and Jason Kenny and members of the Team GB gold-winning hockey team, as well as Tom Odell (ITV)

She explained that she had to “commit to breaking that cycle for a little bit so that I could grow as a person” and that she was “boring herself” by working so much.

When asked by Ross if she found she could be anonymous during those years away from the silver screen, Renee admitted she was thrilled at not being noticed.

She said: “When you go away and you’re out of people’s consciousness, they stop noticing you. It’s fantastic, you order your coffee and you get a coffee and leave. It’s really nice because I’d meet people authentically, you’d have authentic conversations on the street and I enjoyed that, that’s something that I had missed.”

Prior to her movie comeback in the third film in the Bridget Jones franchise, Renee had not appeared on-screen since 2010′s My Own Love Song.

She also appeared in thriller The Whole Truth this year, alongside Keanu Reeves and Jim Belushi.

Renee was accompanied for the TV interview by Patrick, who portrays her on-screen lover Jack Qwant in Bridget Jones’s Baby.

John took part in an amusing segment during the episode, in which he read out amorous messages posted by Patrick’s fans on Twitter in tribute to his Grey’s Anatomy character.

The Jonathan Ross Show returns on Saturday September 10 (ITV)

One tweet read: “I would just like to know how Patrick Dempsey is old enough to be my dad, yet he’s hot.”

Another, read out to rapturous applause from the studio audience, described how one person wanted to “lick Patrick Dempsey’s teeth”.

The Jonathan Ross Show returns to ITV1 on Saturday September 10 at 9.30pm.