"I don't know if Renee Zellweger just aged like she said, I don't really know," the former Hills star, 28, admitted. "For me, when I see people who look totally different, I have an empathy. I feel like I know why at least I did it, and it kind of brings it back to that time in my life. It's just, I feel for them." See more pics of Renee's controversial new look.
In 2010, Montag experienced her own transformation when she famously underwent 10 plastic surgery procedures in one day. In subsequent interviews, Montag expressed remorse about getting drastic work done in her early 20s, which resulted in several health issues. (The reality TV star told Entertainment Tonight in 2013 that she went under the knife one final time to reduce her breasts from a size F-cup to a size D-cup. "I wasn't warned by my doctor at all about back problems, about the repercussions," she said.)
The reality star speculated what would compel a star to go forth with such a dramatic transformation. "I hope it's the right decision for them. I hope they feel good about it," Montag mused to Extra. "That's the most important thing. My heart goes out them and I think like, 'Why did you do that? Are you happy with it?' It's a hard life-changing decision when anyone does it. Obviously, they're unhappy with something. I hope that they [find] their happiness."
Montag also reflected back on her own reclusive habits post-surgery. (Zellweger's last red carpet appearance prior to her Elle Women in Hollywood revelation was back in March.)
"You can't hide forever," Spencer Pratt's wife continued. "If you're a public figure, you have to come out eventually. You have to feel good and feel confident about it. Even if you were feeling confident about it, sometimes it takes you back from it and makes you feel guilty about it or more judged about it when the whole world is talking negative about you."
As witnessed on The Hills, that judgment hit Montag the hardest when it came from her family members. "You don't realize it comes home a lot," she reflected. "You have sisters and you have family that makes it harder, too sometimes. I think that's one of the reasons I went into hiding and bowed out of it."
Still, Montag said society will react no matter what. "Not only are you getting the criticism from the world and blogs and people, everybody says negative things… it's harder than it's ever been to be in the public eye," she admitted. "You have to be tougher. You have to have really thick skin."