Renee Zellweger, Doyle Bramhall

SDFL / Splash News

Renée Zellweger isn't shying away from the spotlight. 

Just one week after the 45-year-old actress made headlines for her surprising appearance at the 2014 Elle Women in Hollywood party, the Bridget Jones star was spotted in Mississippi, where she was photographed out and about with boyfriend Doyle Bramhall II

The lovebirds, who were first romantically linked in 2012, looked relaxed and comfortable as they strolled side by side, appearing unfazed by the pesky paps.

Zellweger sported a make-up free appearance and flaunted her fresh face for the cameras, rocking a cozy gray sweatshirt while wearing her hair up in a messy bun. Her beau, meanwhile, wore a basic white tee paired with aviator shades and a string of necklaces. 

Renee Zellweger, Doyle Bramhall

SDFL / Splash News

The blond beauty has been busy filming her new movie, Same Kind of Different As Me, which is based on the book of the same name, following a lengthy break from Tinseltown. She returned to the red carpet last week and instantly became the talk of the tabloids, with some claiming that her new look makes her appear "unrecognizable."

In the wake of the reports, Renee responded to the backlash and addressed the speculation surrounding her headline-making appearance. 

"I'm glad folks think I look different! I'm living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows," Zellweger, who last appeared in 2010's My Own Love Song, told People

Renee Zellweger

Jason Merritt/Getty Images for ELLE

"People don't know me in my 40s," the Academy Award winner added. "People don't know me [as] healthy for a while. Perhaps I look different. Who doesn't as they get older?! Ha. But I am different. I'm happy."

Following the criticism, a number of celebs jumped to Zellweger's defense, including Iggy Azalea, Zachary Quinto and Russell Brand

"I think the reality is that there is an unending pressure on women to look forever young," The View co-host Nicole Wallace said during a discussion about Renee's appearance on the ABC talk show. "As long as the culture that's called out for what it is. It holds women to an unrealistic and insane standard of a body that looks like a 12-year-old and a face that looks like an 8-year-old. It's insane."

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