UPDATED: Renee has responded to the online feedback about her look via PEOPLE.com. Read on!
45-year-old actress Renée Zellwegger looked completely unrecognizable when she attended Elle's 21st Annual Women In Hollywood Awards on October 21. It's not that the star looked ugly; she just didn't look like herself.
The actress walked the red carpet with puffy cheeks, an altered brow, and an unnaturally flawless forehead. The Daily Mail called her "suspiciously puffy" and "astonishingly different." CNN asked the same question everyone was probably thinking anyway: Is that you, Renee Zellweger?
Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon Dr. Alex Kardais from London's Kardais Clinic told The Daily Mail Online that the actress may have had an upper eye lift. "The distance between the brow and her eye is much smaller than before," adding, "Her forehead is smooth—you would expect more expressive wrinkles when she smiles which indicates a possible small dose of Botox between the eyelid and eye."
While the actress has never admitted to having plastic surgery, writer Bryan Moylan from Time.com says, "Yes, it’s clear that Zellweger has had some work done. Welcome to Hollywood."
When you're constantly under the limelight—and a very harsh one at that—wouldn't you want to change something about yourself, too?
In 2008, gossip website JustJared.com released photos of Renée during the Academy Awards—and the readers' comments were mean, to say the least. If you were Renée, and read things like, "She's too muscly," or "The dress is cute; Renée not so much," you'd want to hide inside your closet and never step out in public ever.
It's the same feeling when your coworker says you look like you've gained a few pounds. Doesn't that make you want to sign up for a gym membership? Or if that gap tooth has been bothering you, and then a friend subtly points it out. Don't you feel the need to go to the dentist to get braces? Like yesterday?
People are harsh. They will say mean things, which will make you feel bad. You try not to let it get to you, but it does.
Renée is an Academy Award winner. She received the Golden Globe Award three times. Her movies are fan favorites (hello, Bridget Jones's Diary and Jerry Maguire!). But nobody wants to talk about those. Because everyone wants to talk about her face, and everything that's wrong with it.
And that sucks.
P.S. In her exclusive statement on PEOPLE.com, Renee 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. My friends say that I look peaceful. I am healthy."
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