You OK? The Weeknd startled fans when his face appeared bruised and bloody at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards in late August. He later wore a full face of bandages while attending the 2020 American Music Awards in November. And on January 5, 2021, the Toronto native debuted an extreme plastic surgery look during the music video for his new song, “Save Your Tears” — but is any of it real? Here’s what we know.
The 30-year-old (real name Abel Tesfaye) showed off several bizarre new features in the visual for his latest single, including bloated cheeks, a thinned nose, surgery scars and seemingly injected lips. However, it seems the shocking changes are the result of CGI and prosthetics. Prosthetic Renaissance, a special effects makeup studio, took credit for the metamorphosis on their social media accounts after the music video debuted.
Plus, it seems the “The Hills” artist’s visage is back to normal already. The Weeknd debuted a teaser for his upcoming Super Bowl LV commercial on his Instagram on January 8 — and his face looked normal and void of any of the cuts or surgery scars he has been rocking lately. The pop singer started sporting the jarring cuts-and-bruises look as a reference to his short film After Hours and music video “Blinding Lights,” which premiered last year and showed him getting beaten up by bouncers in Las Vegas.
The “Starboy” artist wore the same makeup, red suit and black gloves from the cover of his After Hours album during the socially-distanced MTV awards show. He also opened the event with an outdoor performance of “Blinding Lights” that featured fireworks and a helicopter following him around the New York City stage. He wore the same look during an appearance on Saturday Night Live in March 2020.
“‘Blinding Lights’ [is about] how you want to see someone at night, and you’re intoxicated, and you’re driving to this person and you’re just blinded by streetlights,” The Weeknd told Esquire in August 2020. “But nothing could stop you from trying to go see that person, because you’re so lonely. I don’t want to ever promote drunk driving, but that’s what the dark undertone is.”
The Weeknd split from longtime on-again, off-again girlfriend Bella Hadid in August 2019 over a year after they reconciled their relationship in spring 2018. Since their uncoupling, the model has been “keeping herself busy,” an insider exclusively told Life & Style in August 2020.
“Time is the greatest healer,” the source revealed at the time. “Three or four months ago, seeing The Weeknd with another woman may have been painful for Bella, but these days she’s more OK with it. She’s hanging out with friends and helping [sister] Gigi [Hadid] prepare for the birth [of her first child.]” As for The Weeknd, he seems to be focusing on his career.