Jim Carrey has opened up about his little-known pre-fame romance with singer Linda Ronstadt, 15 years his senior.

Carrey's in a reflective mood as he goes on the publicity trail for his new "semi-autobiographical novel", Memoirs and Misinformation.

The book comes with a somewhat confusing disclaimer – "None of this is real and all of it is true" – and is billed by the publisher as a "fearless and semi-autobiographical deconstruction of persona".

Inside, Carrey reportedly offers up insight into several of his past relationships.

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Carrey and Ronstadt dated for eight months in 1983 when Carrey was a 21-year-old aspiring comedian and Ronstadt, 36, had been a household name for a decade.

"Linda Ronstadt has a special place in the book because, you know, it may have seemed like some … boy-toy kind of situation to some people looking at it from the outside but she treated me with incredible respect. She loved my talent and respected my talent – we'd hang out and she'd say, 'You're going to be where I am. You're going to deal with all the stuff I've dealt with'."

Linda Ronstadt in the 1980s. Photo / Getty Images
Linda Ronstadt in the 1980s. Photo / Getty Images

Carrey opened up about the night they met at a comedy club where he was performing and Ronstadt was searching for a comic to open her next tour.

"I don't know what I was thinking, I was in 21-year-old Mac Daddy mode, but I immediately adored her. She said, 'Wow, you're really good, would you like to come on the road with me?' I said, 'No, but I'll go out with you.' Without a thought. I was giving up a gig which I needed – I had no money! She kind of screwed up her face and said: ' … OK!'"

Twenty years after their split, Carrey still holds a candle for his ex-fiance Renée Zellweger, who he says was the "great love of my life".

Carrey: Zellweger was
Carrey: Zellweger was "very special to me." Photo / Getty Images

The pair started dating when they worked on the black comedy Me, Myself and Irene together in 1999. They broke off their engagement in December 2000.

In a candid chat with radio host Howard Stern, Carrey said that Zellweger "definitely was special to me, very special. I think she's lovely".

Stern asked Carrey if he had any regrets about the relationship not lasting.

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"I don't regret — I don't have those things. But I do appreciate the people that have come through my life for the good that they gave me … but I don't pine for anybody. It's not that kind of situation. It's just my way of saying, 'There was a very important thing there,' and to recognise that."

Carrey: Zellweger was
Carrey: Zellweger was "very special to me". Photo / Getty Images