Hollywood is unkind to ageing female celebrities. But that’s old news. What many don’t anticipate, however, is a strong reaction and ugly debate by the general public. Unfortunately, this is exactly what the Oscar-winning actress Renée Zellweger had to face after a mere red-carpet appearance.
Renée Zellweger’s (speculated) plastic surgery sent the internet into a frenzy, with many feeling outraged that Bridget Jones did not look like the beloved Bridget Jones. So, what was it that made the star’s face look so different?
Who Is Renée Zellweger?
Before anything, you should know about Zellweger’s career trajectory. Originally from Texas, Renée Kathleen Zellweger was born in 1969. It was in 1992, at the age of 23, that she first started her acting career by starring in small films. And while her performances were critically praised, it wasn’t until her role in Jerry Maguire that the actress got her big break.
Paired alongside Tom Cruise, Zellweger’s performance was equally remarkable, which helped make the film a classic. However, it wasn’t until Renée’s performance in Bridget Jones’s Diary that the actress cemented her status as the ultimate rom-com icon. For her role in Nurse Betty, which came out in 2000, she eventually ended up winning a Golden Globe.
For many years, the Chicago star remained at the top of her game, even winning an Academy Award for her acting chops in Cold Mountain. Eventually, though, in 2010, following a series of poor box office performances, the actress decided to step away from the limelight.
Later, in a statement to the People magazine, she later explained the reason behind the decision saying, “Rather than stopping to recalibrate, I kept running until I was depleted and made bad choices about how to conceal the exhaustion. I was aware of the chaos and finally chose different things.”
However, the Oscar-winner finally made a comeback in 2016 for the third and final film in Bridget Jones’s franchise. Later, she starred in a biopic of Jude Garland called Judy, for which she ended up winning another Oscar but, this time, for Best Actress.
When Did Renée Zellweger’s Plastic Surgery Rumours Start?
While still on hiatus, the Case 39 star attended the Elle Women in Hollywood Awards in 2014. She was 45 around that time, and the last time that she’d made a public appearance, she was 41 years old. But to many, it seemed that the Hollywood A-lister had gone under the knife during those 4 years.
Even large publications wouldn’t stop talking about how Zellweger’s face had changed. The criticism was scathing, with people calling her many names and cry-asking why she would ever do that to her face. Even the strongest would falter under such scrutiny. Despite that, Renée kept a brave face.
Talking to People magazine in 2014, she said, “I’m glad folks think I look different. I’m living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I’m thrilled that perhaps it shows.” On the debate around her face, she simply called it “silly.” She also went on to say, “People don’t know me [as] healthy for a while. Perhaps I look different. Who doesn’t as they get older?! Ha. But I am different. I’m happy.”
Now, here, there’s something else that you should know about. Although Zellweger’s first made headlines in 2014, even long before then, people would make fun of the squint in her eyes or her pout.
However, it was nothing like what she had to face after 2014. Everyone would talk about Renée Zellweger’s plastic surgery as if somehow she had cheated them all. So, really with or without plastic surgery, there was always something that someone had to say about her face.
What Surgeries Was Renée Zellweger Rumoured To Have Had?
Here’s a list of all the surgeries that Renée was rumoured to have had:
More than anything, almost everyone said that the actress’ eyes looked different. The Texas native was born with beautiful, hooded eyes. So, her upper eyelids don’t have a crease.
However, after her appearance at the awards ceremony, everyone assumed that she had eyelid surgery, also known as blepharoplasty, to get rid of the excess skin and fat in the upper eye area. That’s why it looked hollower, and her eyes looked bigger.
Later, when Zellweger penned the op-ed in Huffington Post in 2016 regarding the rumours about her alleged eye surgery, she said, “The ‘eye surgery’ tabloid story itself did not matter, but it became the catalyst for my inclusion in subsequent legitimate news stories about self-acceptance and women succumbing to social pressure to look and age a certain way.”
Other than an eyelid surgery, it was also rumoured that the Chicago star had a brow lift because the ends of her brows seemed to be in a higher position than before. However, that was said about her even before her 2014 appearance.
An eyebrow lift repositions drooping eyebrows (something that happens with ageing). Additionally, it tightens the skin of the forehead so that the skin is smoothed out and the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines is reduced.
People have been making fun of Zellweger’s cheeks for a long time, comparing them to that of a chipmunk. However, this time, instead of “blaming” her genetics, they cried plastic surgery (although fillers aren’t even plastic surgery). Some even said that she had implants in her cheeks or fat grafting.
Other than that, it was speculated that she had the shape of her jawline altered through fillers.
Botox works by blocking signals from nerves that stimulate the muscles to contract. And it has been said that the Golden Globe winner had Botox on her forehead to smooth out the wrinkles there. Although, again, that doesn’t seem to be true.
How Did Renée Zellweger Respond To The Plastic Surgery Rumours?
As mentioned earlier, the actress gave a statement to People’s magazine, in which she said that her face looked different because of the changes she had made in her lifestyle. She was healthier. However, in 2016, she eventually responded to the bullying in an open letter titled “We Can Do Better.”
In it, she made it clear “Not that it’s anyone’s business, but I did not make a decision to alter my face and have surgery on my eyes.” Then going on to call out gender double standards, she further said, “It’s no secret a woman’s worth has historically been measured by her appearance…
“The resulting message is problematic for younger generations and impressionable minds, and undoubtedly triggers myriad subsequent issues regarding conformity, prejudice, equality, self-acceptance, bullying and health.”
She again addressed her plastic surgery rumours in an interview with Vulture in 2019, saying, “that makes me sad.” During another interview, she even recalled overhearing some train passengers discussing her face and wondering why she would do something like that, even going as far as to call her “stupid”. Needless to say, it wasn’t easy for her to go through something like this.
What Made Renée Zellweger’s Face Look Different?
Renée Zellweger doesn’t seem to have had plastic surgery. Ageing and weight loss can explain all the physical changes that she has gone through over the years.
When everyone thinks of the actress, they’re reminded of none other than the 32-year-old Bridget Jones. But what many people forget is that she had gained 30 pounds to play that role. And she did the same for the film’s sequel Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.
However, as Zellweger herself said, she looked different after all those years because people had never seen her being healthy. So, while she was on a hiatus, away from the public eye, she started looking different (healthier). But in the eyes of the public, she was still the same Bridget. As a result, many were shocked after seeing her face.
Furthermore, just like every living being on earth, she was ageing. And age-related skin changes can explain why her eyes looked different. Keep in mind that Renée has naturally hooded eyes.
And eyes can be “hooded” because of excess fat on top. This fat can atrophy with age, which can make the eyes look “sunken” and, in some cases, even slightly bigger. However, many people thought that her eyes looked bigger (and different) because she had excess skin removed from her upper eyelids through blepharoplasty.
As far as her eyebrows are concerned, they’re not much different than they used to be. Maybe the actress was just trying out different eyebrow styles, or maybe it was her makeup. Because looking at her before and after photos, you can only say that the actress is ageing gracefully.
For a speculated plastic surgery, Renée Zellweger had to face much over the years. Many could not believe she had the audacity to look different and age after a four-year hiatus. And so, the onus fell on plastic surgery.
Remember, what someone chooses to do or not do with their bodies is their decision. Whether or not someone has plastic surgery is their personal choice. So, no one should be “attacked” for it, and that, too, publicly.