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It’s Not The Knife, It’s My Happy New Life! Renee Zellweger Sidesteps Plastic Surgery Questions, Says Drastic Change In Look Is Result Of Different Lifestyle

//renee zellweger then and now

Oct. 22 2014, Updated 10:31 a.m. ET

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After she raised eyelids — make that eyebrows — with a dramatically-different look on the red carpet Monday, Renee Zellweger said that her change in her appearance is because she’s living better these days.

"I'm glad folks think I look different,” The Bridget Jones's Diary star told Tuesday, following her surprising outing at Elle’s Women in Hollywood Awards in Beverly Hills. “I’m living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows.”

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The Cold Mountain star, who hasn’t appeared in a feature film since 2009’s My Own Love Song, added that the five years she’s spent out of the limelight also accounts for the dramatic reaction to her current appearance.

“People don't know me in my 40s," the Academy Award winner said. “Perhaps I look different. Who doesn't as they get older?! Ha! But I am different. I'm happy."

The New In Town beauty, 45, told the magazine that her fast-paced acting career might have taken a toll on her looks, and that with the extra downtime, her friends have told her she looks “peaceful” and “healthy.

"For a long time I wasn't doing such a good job with that: I took on a schedule that is not realistically sustainable and didn't allow for taking care of myself,” she said. “Rather than stopping to recalibrate, I kept running until I was depleted and made bad choices about how to conceal the exhaustion — I was aware of the chaos and finally chose different things."

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Zellweger, who was briefly married to singer Kenny Chesney in 2005, said that her thriving romance with boyfriend Doyle Bramhall has also reinforced the peaceful, easy feeling she said has caused her look to morph.

"I did work that allows for … making a home, loving someone, learning new things, growing as a creative person and finally growing into myself,” she said.

The Jerry Maguire actress brushed off speculation about her changed look as “silly,” saying she was only addressing the issue publicly because “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."

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