A Monday night red carpet event that became a Renee Zellweger face transformation showcase still has the web talking and speculating three days later.
Renee Zellweger's dramatically different appearance left fans and entertainment industry experts wondering how, and why, she looks like THIS now:
The 45-year-old Zellweger commenting that her new look is because she's so happy only fueled the debate and puzzled more than a few people.
In a statement, Renee did not address the rumors of plastic surgery and simply stated her new look was a result of a healthier lifestyle and natural aging.
According to a close confidante of Zellweger, that drastically different appearance we're seeing now is a clear sign of her insecurities, not happiness.
The insider, connected to Zellweger since the early days of her career, says the changes are hardly a big surprise, because "insecurities abound."
“Hollywood gets to people more than one would like to think.”
So which is it, a new life, or old Hollywood pressures?
“Renee is obviously hyper-fixated on maintaining a youthful appearance," says another insider, citing Hollywood’s undeniable focus on young females.
“The focus on youth and often unattainable perfection, like no wrinkles, certainly can [influence] those with a proclivity to engage in radical behavior.”
The pressure to stay young is a big issue all around.
“We the consumers are so obsessed with youth and so hateful to age, that affects everyone. Hollywood is just serving what we ordered,” says one psychologist.
Zellweger hasn’t been seen out in public much since her last project four years ago, when she was still one of Hollywood's most bankable stars.
Ironically, if she is image-obsessed and changed hers dramatically because she thinks she has to look younger, she may have hurt her future prospects.
“Renee Zellweger is a brand she has seriously damaged, or at least changed," says a Harvard sociologist of the long-term impact of this transformation.
For better or worse, Renee Zellweger "has chosen a career that puts her in the public eye and for which she is judged based on her appearance.”
If Zellweger is no longer easily recognizable - for the innocence, the vibrancy and the vulnerability that made her a star - that could be a career killer.