Breaking-ups cause heartaches, headaches and, yes, sometimes creative inspiration. In his new album Lucky Old Sun, which will be released tomorrow, country singer Kenny Chesney reflects on the aftereffects of the annulment of his marriage to the actress Renée Zellweger.
Zellweger, clad in a beautiful Carolina Herrera gown, married the crooner with the cowboy hat in a 15-minute ceremony on a beach in St. John in 2005. Four months later the marriage was kaput — one of the quicker break-ups even for Hollywood, although not beating Chris Kattan’s record split after two months.
Zellweger cited fraud of all things as the cause for the annulment. But who knows what that means? Perhaps he cheated her of her dreams for a lifelong marriage.
For a while, both were silent about why they parted ways. Chesney now is not talking, but he is singing.
As he told Newsweek the songs on his album were written in a burst of inspiration. “I got in a plane and went down to the Virgin Islands,” he says. “I was completely by myself. I didn't want to be around anybody. So the next thing you know, it's me and a pen and I sat down and wrote a lot of lines of this song.”
Three songs on the album seem especially intimate, Spirit of a Storm, I’m Alive, and Way Down Here, whose lyrics say he is "where no one will ask, 'cause nobody knows you're not in my life anymore/And no one can tell the saltwater from my tears."
Was he concerned that his ex would be upset by the music about the end of their relationship? “It's the truth. It's my life,” he told Newsweek. “I've been in a lot of states of mind in the last three years. In that way, it's a pretty honest record. I've let myself be more emotionally vulnerable in some of the lyrics. I think that was good therapy."
Although he says he has no idea how Renée will respond, he says he's no longer heartbroken by the break-up. “I'm on to something else,” he says. And on to someone else, though he didn't name names.
As for Renée Zellweger, she has moved on, too. She plays a widow-lady in Appaloosa, a well-received new Western, and is acting in four films that will come out in 2009. She also produced the Lifetime October movie Living Proof, about a doctor who makes a breakthrough discovery about treatment for breast cancer.
She has said that her breakup with Chesney didn't sour her on love, but it made her more careful in choosing boyfriends.
The next one, she says, will be the real one.