Renee Zellweger wasn't ''healthy'' and stopped ''taking care'' of herself before her career break.

The 'Bridget Jones' Diary' star stepped out of the spotlight for six years in 2010 and admitted she needed to take the time to be in her ''real life'' and living in the moment.

Explaining how she saw a therapist for the only time of her life during her time out, she said: ''I wasn't healthy. I wasn't taking care of myself. I was the last thing on my list of priorities.

''[The therapist] recognised that I spent 99 percent of my life as the public persona and just a microscopic crumb of a fraction in my real life. I needed to not have something to do all the time, to not know what I'm going to be doing for the next two years in advance. I wanted to allow for some accidents. There had to be some quiet for the ideas to slip in.''

The 50-year-old star realised she was depressed through the sessions and after taking the ''hardest kick'', she now knows what's important to her.

She added in an interview with New York magazine: ''Nothing like international humiliation to set your perspective right!

''It clarifies what's important to you. And it shakes off any sort of clingy superficiality ... that you didn't have time for anyway.

''One of the fears that maybe, as artists, we all share -- because we have this public experience of being criticised not just for our work but as human beings -- is when it gets to be too much, when you learn that your skin is not quite as thick as you need it to be, what is that gonna feel like? Well, now I know. I got the hardest kick. And it ain't the end.''

However, the 'Cold Mountain' star stressed her difficult period only lasted a fraction of her time off.

She said: ''I had a good five-year period when I was joyful and in a new chapter that no one was even aware of.''

Renee is particularly thankful that her hiatus meant she can now lead a quieter life in public.

She said: ''I have very authentic exchanges with people once again.

''Six years. It was important, that time. You're not in people's consciousness anymore, so they don't immediately make the connection. It's a quieter life, and I love it.''