Renee Zellweger pens response to plastic surgery rumors: "I must make some claim on the truths of my life"

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Renee Zellweger Writes Passionate Essay Denying Plastic Surgery Rumors


Renee Zellweger is speaking out about the recent, public back-and-forth surrounding her appearance.

"I am lucky," Zellweger begins in an op-ed she penned for The Huffington Post titled "We Can Do Better." "Choosing a creative life and having the opportunity to do satisfying work that is sometimes meaningful is a blessed existence."

The actress then dives into the unforeseen scrutiny that has come with her onscreen career, which includes films like Chicago, Jerry Maguire and the Bridget Jones franchise.

"I am not writing today because I have been publicly bullied or because the value of my work has been questioned by a critic whose ideal physical representation of a fictional character originated 16 years ago, over which he feels ownership, I no longer meet," wrote the Oscar-winner. "I'm writing because to be fair to myself, I must make some claim on the truths of my life, and because witnessing the transmutation of tabloid fodder from speculation to truth is deeply troubling."

The actress is referring to a piece written by Variety film critic, Owen Gleiberman, titled "Renee Zellweger: If She No Longer Looks Like Herself, Has She Become a Different Actress?"

Read more: 'Bridget Jones' Baby' Trailer: Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey Compete to Become a Father

In an essay for The Hollywood Reporter, Rose McGowan responded to Gleiberman's assertions in her own post, writing, "Renee Zellweger is a human being, with feelings, with a life, with love and with triumphs and struggles, just like the rest of us. How dare you use her as a punching bag in your mistaken attempt to make a mark at your new job."

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Actress Renee Zellweger attends the 2001 VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards on October 19, 2001 at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Actress Renee Zellweger attends the 58th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 21, 2001 at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Actress Renee Zellweger attends the Nurse Betty New York City Premiere on September 6, 2000 at Loews East Cinemas in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Actor Jay Mohr and actress Renee Zellweger attend the 16th Annual MTV Video Music Awards on September 9, 1999 at the Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Actress Renee Zellweger attends The Bachelor Hollywood Premiere on November 3, 1999 at Pacific's Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Actress Renee Zellweger attends the One True Thing Century City Premiere on September 16, 1998 at Cineplex Odeon Century Plaza Cinemas in Century City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Actress Renee Zellweger attends the One True Thing New York City Premiere on September 13, 1998 at Sony Theatres Lincoln Square in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Actress Renee Zellweger attends the Jerry Maguire New York City Premiere on December 6, 1996 at Pier 88 in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Actress Renee Zellweger attends the Jerry Maguire Westwood Premiere on December 11, 1996 at Mann Village Theatre in Westwood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
American actress Renée Zellweger and Japanese artist, singer, and peace activist Yoko Ono attend the preview for the Matt Nye Spring 2000 collection, New York City, USA, 1999. (Photo by Rose Hartman/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
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HOLLYWOOD - DECEMBER 20: Actor Jim Carrey and actress Renee Zellweger attends the 'Man on the Moon' Hollywood Premiere on December 20, 1999 at the Mann's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 2000: Renee Zellweger is on hand for the New York premiere of the movie 'Nurse Betty' at the Loews Cineplex 19th St. East Theater. She stars in the film. (Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Jim Carrey & Renee Zellweger (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
Greg Kinnear and Renee Zellweger at the photo call for the film 'Nurse Betty' at the 53rd Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, 5/12/00.Photo: Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect
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Renee Zellweger and director Neil Labute at the premiere for the film 'Nurse Betty' at the 53rd Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, 5/12/00.Photo by Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect
Jim Carrey and Renee Zellweger at the premiere of 'Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas' at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles Ca. 11/8/00. Photo by Kevin Winter/ImageDirect
383127 11: Actress Renee Zellweger arrives at the 10th Annual Fire & Ice Ball December 11, 2000 at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA. (Photo by Chris Weeks/Liaison)
Renee Zellweger (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
LONDON - MARCH 10: American actress Renee Zellweger, British actor Hugh Grant and British pop star Geri Halliwell arrive at the UK premiere of the film 'Bridget Jones' Diary' at the Empire Cinema Leicester Square on March 10, 2001 in London. (Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 19: Renee Zellweger is on hand for the 2001 VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards at the Manhattan Center's Hammerstein Ballroom. (Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, : US actress Renee Zellweger arrives at the 74th Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, CA, 24 March 2002. Zellweger is nominated for Best Actress for her role in 'Bridget Jones's Diary.' AFP PHOTO/Lucy NICHOLSON (Photo credit should read LUCY NICHOLSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Renee Zellweger relaxes after her 22-minute run during 5th Annual New York Revlon Run/Walk for Women - to Raise Funds for Women's Cancer Research, Awareness & Prevention at Time Square & East Meadow of Central Park in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
Renee Zellweger during Chicago Press Conference with Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger, Richard Gere, Queen Latifah, John C. Reilly, Bill Condon and Rob Marshall at The Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by Vera Anderson/WireImage)
Renee Zellweger wearing Jil Sander during Anna Wintour and Harvey Weinstein Co-host Screening of Chicago at Tribeca Grand Hotel in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)
Renee Zellweger during Sundance Film Festival Archives by Randall Michelson in Park City, Utah, United States. (Photo by Randall Michelson/WireImage)
Renee Zellweger during Chicago Special Screening to Benefit GLAAD and Broadway Cares - Outside Arrivals at The Ziegfeld Theater in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
LONDON - DECEMBER 19: American actress Renee Zellweger poses at Cafe Royal in London in occasion of the UK 'Chicago' Premierr on December 19, 2002. (Photo by Jon Furniss/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JANUARY 10: *** EXCLUSIVE *** (ITALY OUT) Actress Renee Zellweger carries bottled water as she leaves her hotel January 10, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Arnaldo Magnani/Getty Images)
Richard Gere and Renee Zellweger (wearing Chanel) at the 2002 National Board Of Review Of Motion Pictures Annual Awards Gala at Tavern-On-The-Green in New York City. January 14, 2003. Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images
Renee Zellweger at the 60th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, Ca., 1/19/03. Zellweger won 'Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture-Musical or Comedy' for Chicago. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect)
ITALY - FEBRUARY 10: Renee Zellweger in Rome, Italy on February 10th, 2003. (Photo by Eric VANDEVILLE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 01: Renee Zellweger in the press room at the 55th Annual Directors Guild Awards at the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City, CA 03/01/03 (Photo by Vinnie Zuffante/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - MARCH 9: Actress Renee Zellweger poses backstage with her Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role and Outstanding Performance by A Cast In A Theatrical Motion Picture awards for 'Chicago' during the 9th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on March 9, 2003 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Renee Zellweger during Miramax 2003 MAX Awards - Inside at St. Regis Hotel in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
Renee Zellweger wearing a Neil Lane ring at the The Kodak Theater in Hollywood, California (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
Renee Zellweger during Renee Zellweger Promotes 'Down with Love'Boutique at Bloomingdales at Bloomingdale's in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)
Renee Zellweger during 2003 Tribeca Film Festival - 'Down With Love' World Premiere at Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers Street in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
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In the op-ed, Zellweger addresses the issue head on by calling out the tabloid media culture.

"Not that it's anyone's business, but I did not make a decision to alter my face and have surgery on my eyes. This fact is of no true import to anyone at all," she writes. "Although we have evolved to acknowledge the importance of female participation in determining the success of society, and take for granted that women are standard bearers in all realms of high profile position and influence, the double standard used to diminish our contributions remains, and is perpetuated by the negative conversation which enters our consciousness every day as snark entertainment."

Last month Jennifer Aniston also posted a self-penned op-ed — also published on the Huffington Post — which discussed tabloid journalism's personal affect on her life, especially in terms of perpetuated pregnancy rumors.

Zellweger concludes her op-ed by writing, "Maybe we could talk more about why we seem to collectively share an appetite for witnessing people diminished and humiliated with attacks on appearance and character and how it impacts younger generations and struggles for equality."

Read her full essay below.

Read more: Rose McGowan Pens Response to Critic of Renee Zellweger's Face: "Vile, Damaging, Stupid and Cruel" (Guest Column)

I am lucky. Choosing a creative life and having the opportunity to do satisfying work that is sometimes meaningful is a blessed existence and worth the price paid in the subsequent challenges of public life.

Sometimes it means resigning to humiliation, and other times, understanding when silence perpetuates a bigger problem.

In October 2014, a tabloid newspaper article reported that I'd likely had surgery to alter my eyes.

It didn't matter; just one more story in the massive smut pile generated every day by the tabloid press and fueled by exploitative headlines and folks who practice cowardly cruelty from their anonymous internet pulpits.

In the interest of tabloid journalism, which profits from the chaos and scandal it conjures and injects into people's lives and their subsequent humiliation, the truth is reduced to representing just one side of the fictional argument. I can't imagine there's dignity in explaining yourself to those who trade in contrived scandal, or in seeking the approval of those who make fun of others for sport. It's silly entertainment, it's of no import, and I don't see the point in commenting.

However, in our current culture of unsolicited transparency, televised dirty laundry, and folks bartering their most intimate details in exchange for attention and notoriety, it seems that the choice to value privacy renders one a suspicious character. Disingenuous. A liar with nefarious behavior to conceal. "She denies," implies an attempt to cover up the supposed tabloid "exposed truth."

And now, as the internet story contrived for its salacious appeal to curious minds becomes the supposed truth within moments, choosing the dignity of silence rather than engaging with the commerce of cruel fiction, leaves one vulnerable not only to the usual ridicule, but to having the narrative of one's life hijacked by those who profiteer from invented scandal.

I am not writing today because I have been publicly bullied or because the value of my work has been questioned by a critic whose ideal physical representation of a fictional character originated 16 years ago, over which he feels ownership, I no longer meet. I am not writing in protest to the repellent suggestion that the value of a person and her professional contributions are somehow diminished if she presumably caves to societal pressures about appearance, and must qualify her personal choices in a public court of opinion. I'm not writing because I believe it's an individual's right to make decisions about his or her body for whatever reason without judgment.

I'm writing because to be fair to myself, I must make some claim on the truths of my life, and because witnessing the transmutation of tabloid fodder from speculation to truth is deeply troubling. 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. In my opinion, that tabloid speculations become the subject of mainstream news reporting does matter.

Not that it's anyone's business, but I did not make a decision to alter my face and have surgery on my eyes. This fact is of no true import to anyone at all, but that the possibility alone was discussed among respected journalists and became a public conversation is a disconcerting illustration of news/entertainment confusion and society's fixation on physicality.

It's no secret a woman's worth has historically been measured by her appearance. Although we have evolved to acknowledge the importance of female participation in determining the success of society, and take for granted that women are standard bearers in all realms of high profile position and influence, the double standard used to diminish our contributions remains, and is perpetuated by the negative conversation which enters our consciousness every day as snark entertainment.

Too skinny, too fat, showing age, better as a brunette, cellulite thighs, facelift scandal, going bald, fat belly or bump? Ugly shoes, ugly feet, ugly smile, ugly hands, ugly dress, ugly laugh; headline material which emphasizes the implied variables meant to determine a person's worth, and serve as parameters around a very narrow suggested margin within which every one of us must exist in order to be considered socially acceptable and professionally valuable, and to avoid painful ridicule. The resulting message is problematic for younger generations and impressionable minds, and undoubtably triggers myriad subsequent issues regarding conformity, prejudice, equality, self acceptance, bullying and health.

Ubiquitous online and news source repetition of humiliating tabloid stories, mean-spirited judgments andinformation is not harmless.

It increasingly takes air time away from the countless significant unprecedented current events affecting our world. 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.

What if immaterial tabloid stories, judgments and misconceptions remained confined to the candy jar of low-brow entertainment and were replaced in mainstream media by far more important, necessary conversations? What if we were more careful and more conscientious about the choices we make for ourselves, where we choose to channel our energy and what we buy into; remembering that information — both factual and fictitious — is frequently commodified as a product, and the contents and how we use it are of significant personal, social and public consequence?

Maybe we could talk more about why we seem to collectively share an appetite for witnessing people diminished and humiliated with attacks on appearance and character and how it impacts younger generations and struggles for equality, and about how legitimate news media have become vulnerable to news/entertainment ambiguity, which dangerously paves the way for worse fictions to flood the public consciousness to much greater consequence. Maybe we could talk more about our many true societal challenges and how we can do better.

Read more: Jennifer Aniston Calls Out Decades of "Disturbing" Tabloid Rumors: "I'm Fed Up"


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