"I'm glad folks think I look different! I'm living a different, happier, more fulfilling life, and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows," Renee said in a statement to People magazine.
The star said she had chosen to respond to the "silly" ongoing conversations about her appearance because "it seems 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."
She continued: "My friends say that I look peaceful. I am 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.
"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."
Helping Renee turn that corner was her boyfriend, Doyle Bramhall. "I did work that allows for being still, making a home, loving someone, learning new things, growing as a creative person and finally growing into myself."
Finally, Renee wants people to know that she is comfortable in her own skin. "People don't know me in my 40s," the Cold Mountain actress concluded. "People don't know me (as) healthy for a while.
"Perhaps I look different. Who doesn't as they get older?! But I am different. I'm happy."