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, 51, 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?
Let’s take a look at Zellweger’s hiatus from acting and the rumors surrounding her alleged new look.
Why Renee Zellweger Stopped Acting
Where did Zellweger go in 2010? In a 2019 interview with Vulture, the actress says she hit pause on her acting career to mentally regroup. “I wasn’t healthy,” she said. “I wasn’t taking care of myself. I was the last thing on my list of priorities.”
“[My therapist] recognized that I spent 99 percent of my life as the public persona and just a microscopic crumb of a fraction in my real life. I needed to not have something to do all the time, to not know what I’m going to be doing for the next two years in advance. I wanted to allow for some accidents. There had to be some quiet for the ideas to slip in.”
Earlier, in a 2016 interview with Vogue, she also said, “I found anonymity, so I could have exchanges with people on a human level and be seen and heard … You cannot be a good storyteller if you don’t have life experiences, and you can’t relate to people.”
Renee Zellweger Hurt By Plastic Surgery Rumors
Skeptics surmised that Zellweger kept a low profile for different reasons. When the actress made a rare appearance at the 2014 Elle 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 new look.
“So I get up and I stand next to the door waiting for it to open and the man is still talking about how stupid I am,” she said. “And 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?'”
“It’s only momentarily where you go, ‘Jeez, wow, [the rumors are] pretty painful,'” Zellweger added. “But I don’t live in that.”
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.”
“Maybe we could talk more about our many true societal challenges and how we can do better.”
Renee Zellweger’s Return To Hollywood
Zellweger made her return to the big screen in 2016 when she starred in Bridget Jones’s Baby—the third installment of the popular series. Critics welcomed her back, with Peter Travers of Rolling Stone calling her “better-than-ever.”
But she topped that performance in 2019, when she played Judy Garland in the biopic Judy. The role earned her the 2020 Oscar for Best Actress. It also proved that her talent would outlast any idle chatter about her eyes.
More Rumors About Zellweger
With Zellweger back in the spotlight, the latest crop of rumors concern her love life. The actress has had a series of high-profile relationships, including an engagement to Jim Carrey, a four-month marriage to country singer Kenny Chesney, and relationships with Bradley Cooper and Jack White.
Zellweger has had to fend off theories that she likes mixing business with pleasure. For instance, there’s the story that she was involved with Bridget Jones co-star Colin Firth. Taking it a step further, a tabloid reported that the romance was part of a love triangle with Jerry Maguire co-star Tom Cruise. There was also speculation early this year that she had secretly reunited with ex-boyfriend Bradley Cooper.
The truth is that she spent the last few years in a long-term relationship. In May 2019, she ended a seven-year relationship with musician Doyle Bramhall II. According to E! News, Zellweger financially supported her ex-boyfriend during his messy divorce proceedings. She even paid his credit card bills, which ran as high as $4,000 – $5,000 per month.
She’s not linked to anyone at the moment, but we hope that a happy relationship follows this new chapter in her career.