When I spoke last Friday to Renee Zellweger at the annual Telluride brunch, she looked exactly (and very fetchingly) like a somewhat older but entirely vibrant and relaxed version of Dorothy Boyd, the lover and wife of Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire. She looked like herself, I mean, and well-tended at that.
Zellweger was 26 or thereabouts when she costarred in that landmark Cameron Crowe film. Now she’s 50, and has some kind of serene, settled, casually glowing thing going on. If I didn’t know her and someone told me she was 45, I wouldn’t have blinked an eye.
Why did I just write two paragraphs about Zellweger’s appearance instead of her exceptional, affecting performance as Judy Garland in Rupert Goold‘s Judy (Roadside, 10.4)? It’s water under the bridge but five years ago everyone was saying Zellweger looked like someone else. Which, to be honest, she did for a certain period.
And now, in a new Vulture profile, Jonathan Van Meter has touched on “the subject” and shared the same view. Renee looks like Renee, all is well, etc.
From “Weeks Later, Zellweger posted a Huffpost article title Lays It Down,” posted on 8.6.16.
“‘I am not writing in protest to the repellent suggestion that the value of a person and her professional contributions are somehow diminished, ” Zellweger wrote, “if she presumably caves to societal pressures about appearance.’
HE Translation: “Not only is there nothing wrong in ‘doing something’ about my appearance, especially considering that I’m pushing 50 and about to appear in a big-studio romcom about a woman having a baby, but my having done what almost every other 45-and-older actress has done to stay in the game in no way diminishes or degrades my skills as an actress.” HE response: Total agreement.
“Consider this RZ quote also: ‘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.” Translation: I have obviously made a certain decision about my body for reasons I consider valid, and you can take whatever judgment you may have about that and shove it.” HE response: Ditto.
“I would only repeat, as I said on 7.3, that nobody cares if you’ve had work done. At all. I don’t blame any actress or actor for going down that path as long as the result is not too glaring. You just have to keep it subtle.”
On 6.30.16, Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman committed the crime of noticing and discussing the fact that Zellweger’s face had changed. For this he was all but knifed to death on Twitter. Progressive feminists wanted his head on a pole, but to their credit Gleiberman’s Variety editors held firm. What Owen wrote was fair, but Twitter response was ugly — a hint to one and all that “cancel culture” was taking shape and would, three years later, become a major thing.
Full repeated disclosure: I had some facial “work” done in Prague in late May of 2012, and I’ve never regretted doing so in the slightest. Deciding to undergo what I’ve always referred to as a “touch-up” is far from standard operating procedure for journalists, but obviously par for actors of a certain age. Nobody ever cares unless it looks like something.