From the moment Renée Zellweger and Tom Cruise completed each other in 1996’s Jerry Maguire, we all knew a star was born.
The Texan beauty, born in 1969, immediately rose to fame and became a Hollywood darling in the aughts. She plastered magazine covers and lit up the red carpet for her critically-acclaimed roles in Bridget Jones’s Diary, Chicago, and Cold Mountain—the last of which earned her a 2004 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
But in 2010, Zellweger quietly stepped away from the limelight. When she finally returned four years later for a major public appearance, fans couldn’t help but ask: did Renée Zellweger undergo plastic surgery?
Zellweger’s appearance has certainly fluctuated throughout the years. This is especially true as she quickly gained and dropped weight for various roles. Let’s take a gander at her ever-evolving look.
She’s Had To Yo-Yo Diet For Various Roles
Early in her career, Zellweger played Bridget Jones in the well-known Bridget Jones’s Diary and the following sequels. The character Bridget Jones is known for her more voluptuous figure and instead of using special effects, Zellweger chose to gain weight for the role. She famously consumed 4,000 calories a day to quickly gain 20 pounds for the role.
In 2015, Zellweger admitted that dieting caused havoc on her body. “Can I just tell you my body is whacked by the time we finish one of those? It doesn’t know what has happened because it thinks there’s supposed to be a baby and there’s no christening.”
Even though Zellweger had the help of professionals, including an endocrinologist, it still caused issues with not only her body but self-image. Right after playing Bridget Jones, Zellweger then went on to star in Chicago. In the movie, you can see how extreme the weight loss turned out to be, with less than a year between roles.
After a six-year hiatus, Zellweger reprised the role of Bridget Jones in Bridget Jones’s Baby. This time, thankfully, Jones’ character didn’t need to gain as much weight. It was still more than Zellweger had originally weighed.
In a 2016 interview with Vogue, Zellweger said, “I put on a few pounds. I also put on some breasts and a baby bump,” she said, adding that “Bridget is a perfectly normal weight and I’ve never understood why it matters so much. No male actor would get such scrutiny if he did the same thing for a role.”
Renée Zellweger Hurt By Plastic Surgery Rumors
After the release of My Own Song in 2010, Zellweger took a hiatus from acting, citing later she had been experiencing burnout jumping from role to role. Yet when the actress made a rare appearance at the 2014 ELLE’s Women in Hollywood Awards, the internet buzzed about her face. Many believed that she had gone under the knife.
The actress tackled the accusations head-on. In an exclusive statement provided to People, 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.”
“It seems the folks who come digging around for some nefarious truth which doesn’t exist won’t get off my porch until I answer the door,” added Zellweger. “Perhaps I look different. Who doesn’t as they get older?! Ha. But I am different. I’m happy.”
That’s not to say she didn’t have emotional low points. In a September 2019 interview with SiriusXM, Zellweger recalled a train ride where she overheard fellow passengers talking about her.
“She doesn’t look like herself, and you can’t just do that where you go and don’t look like yourself, ’cause we expect you to look like yourself,'” she recalled them saying.
Yet when Zellweger got up to leave the train, a moment of realization flickered across one of the passenger’s faces. She described the brief conversation, saying, “He looked up and he said, ‘Oh God, you’re not—you are! Oh my God, but you look just like yourself!’ And I said, ‘Yeah, it’s funny how that works, isn’t it?'”
Zellweger’s definitive take on the matter was addressed in a 2016 Huffington Post titled, “We Can Do Better.”
“Not that it’s anyone’s business, but I did not make a decision to alter my face and have surgery on my eyes,” she wrote. “It’s no secret a woman’s worth has historically been measured by her appearance … Ubiquitous online and news source repetition of humiliating tabloid stories, mean-spirited judgments, and false information is not harmless … It saturates our culture, perpetuates unkind and unwise double standards, lowers the level of social and political discourse, standardizes cruelty as a cultural norm, and inundates people with information that does not matter.”
And with that, Renée Zellweger laid the plastic surgery rumors to rest, turning the eye of critique away from her own appearance and onto the cruel cultural norms that exist in society, especially Hollywood. Hopefully, it’s a lesson we can all learn from.