Zellweger-Chesney Wedding Shocks Hollywood

ByABC News
May 10, 2005, 11:12 AM

May 10, 2005 — -- It all started with a tsunami and "Jerry Maguire," but now the real-life Bridget Jones is a 30-something singleton no longer.

Hollywood and Nashville collided in the Caribbean on Monday, when Renée Zellweger and Kenny Chesney married on St. John in the Virgin Islands, where the country music star owns a home in the gated community of Peter Bay.

"It's a quick, surprise wedding, kind of a shocker for all of us here in Hollywood who did not see it coming," said correspondent Mark Steins of "Entertainment Tonight," which broke the story Monday evening.

"We do know that it was a very short romance," he said. "They first met during the NBC tsunami telethon, where Renée was manning the phones and Kenny was performing, and they caught each other's eye and the rest, as they say, is history."

Chesney, 37, had long ago been moved by his Oscar-winning bride. He penned his 1999 hit "You Had Me From Hello" after seeing her in "Jerry Maguire."

"When she [Renee] said that in the movie, it was like instant. I said, 'That could be a wonderful song,'" he told USA Weekend back in 1999.

But it was not until four months ago, at the Jan. 15 benefit, that the couple began dating. The 36-year-old Zellweger broke up with Jack White, lead singer of The White Stripes, eight months ago.

Zellweger had previously dated Jim Carrey, with whom she starred in the 2000 comedy, "Me, Myself & Irene." She's also been romantically linked to director Josh Pate, whom she met at the University of Texas.

Chesney, now a familiar face in St. John, retreated there four years ago after his engagement to healthcare administrator Mandy Weals ended. He has since been hesitant to speak of his love life.

The wedding is a first for both stars. Zellweger's publicist, Nanci Ryder, confirmed that the ceremony took place before close friends and family, and that the bride wore a dress designed by Carolina Herrera.

At a pre-wedding reception on Sunday, about 45 guests gathered at a restaurant in downtown Cruz Bay, according to "Entertainment Tonight." The couple wore T-shirts and jeans and drank margaritas.