Credit: Todd Williamson/Getty Images

Renee Zellweger will soon be reprising her role as the accident-prone Jones in the upcoming Bridget Jones’s Baby, but although the movie hits theaters in about a month, much of the recent buzz has been focused on Zellweger’s appearance instead. Now, the actress is firing back at her critics with a pointed essay published on The Huffington Post titled, “We Can Do Better.”

Back in October 2014, Zellweger became the subject of tabloid scrutiny and stories that questioned whether or not she had had plastic surgery. Earlier this summer, the rumors reignited after a Variety film critic penned an essay arguing that Zellweger looks different in the trailers for Bridget Jones’s Baby.

In her response, Zellweger asserts that no, she has not had plastic surgery, and she’s choosing to speak out now because she was disconcerted to see tabloid rumors repeated by the mainstream media.

“Not that it’s anyone’s business, but I did not make a decision to alter my face and have surgery on my eyes,” Zellweger writes. “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.”

Zellweger also argues that when respectable media sources devote space and time to discussing “immaterial tabloid stories, judgments, and misconceptions,” it not only distracts from more important issues but also sends an unhealthy message to young people about the value of appearance.

“Ubiquitous online and news source repetition of humiliating tabloid stories, mean-spirited judgments, and false information is not harmless,” she writes. “It increasingly takes airtime 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.”

In December 2015, Zellweger spoke to EW for our Bridget Jones’s Baby cover story about the tabloid scrutiny she had received up to that point. At the time, she said she tried to insulate herself from all the discussion of her appearance.

“All that I know about is what friends and associates would send in texts and emails,” she told EW. “They were sending support, which means that I must have needed it, and I prefer it that way. So when people come up to me to ask, ‘How did that feel?’ I don’t know, and I like it like that. I don’t know. I know it sounds pretty unlikely that a person might be able to make herself, I guess, keep clear of those words or of that experience, but I have and it takes effort. But I have succeeded.”

Read Zellweger’s full essay at The Huffington Post.

Bridget Jones's Baby
  • Movie
  • R
  • 118 minutes
  • Sharon Maguire