Why does Eminem look so different now?

Every time there's a rare public sighting of Marshall "Eminem" Mathers, his fans are absolutely shocked by his appearance. He has matured a lot since the release of his 1999 album, The Slim Shady LP, but his drastic physical changes appear to be more than just the natural signs of aging. Here are some of the reasons why the "Lose Yourself" rapper looks a lot different these days.

Showing stubble

One of the main reasons Eminem looks like a completely different person is because his fans aren't used to seeing him with facial hair. Since the start of his decades-long career, the "Love the Way You Lie" rapper has rocked a clean-shaven face. However in 2017, Eminem joined #BeardGang and debuted his new, scruffy look on his Instagram account.

In the photo, the 8 Mile star posed alongside rap pioneer Dr. Dre and breakout artist Kendrick Lamar. The caption read, "Just a couple of guys from Compton and one from Detroit. With a beard."

Soon enough, his social media comments section was flooded with fans who either detested his new rough and rugged look or adored it. Despite their opinions, it appears that the beard is here to stay, and we must admit, we sort of dig it.

Did he go under the knife?

Most celebs are plagued by plastic surgery rumors from time to time, and, in an industry where perfection is the status quo, we're not surprised many of them feel pressured to go under the knife. Some suspect Eminem has also resorted to various enhancements in an attempt to reclaim his youthful appearance.

His nose and lips appear to be the same, but his skin looks much smoother, leading some to believe he underwent Botox injections to help diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Various websites, which have picked apart every inch of his face, have claimed that Eminem's waxy appearance is due to said injections.

But leave it to Eminem to keep fans guessing. Despite all the speculation, he has neither confirmed nor denied the plastic surgery rumors, which poses the question: Does he have good genes or good docs?

Drug use took a toll

Eminem's lyrics are laced with references to drug use, and even his album names pay homage to his struggle with addiction. From 2009's Relapse to 2010's Recovery, music fans have been with him during every step of his tumultuous journey. But many weren't aware of the extent of his drug battle until he opened up while filming the 2012 documentary, How To Make Money Selling Drugs (via MTV).

"When I took my first Vicodin, it was like this feeling of 'Ahh.' Like everything was not only mellow, but [I] didn't feel any pain," the rapper said. "I don't know at what point exactly it started to be a problem. I just remember liking it more and more. People tried to tell me that I had a problem. I would say 'Get that f*****g person outta here. I can't believe they said that sh** to me."

Before he knew it, his apparent addiction to prescription medication — Vicodin, Valium, Ambien, and methadone — was so out of control, it led him to overdose. "Had I got to the hospital about two hours later, I would have died. My organs were shutting down. My liver, kidneys, everything," he said, recalling his near-death experience.

It has long been known that drug use can drastically change one's appearance (warning: these images are jarring), and although Eminem doesn't look as harrowing as others who've suffered from drug addiction, his previous binges may have robbed him of his once-boyish appearance.

Better days

In the 2010s, Eminem did a 180 with his physical appearance — and people want answers. It's likely we'll never get an explanation straight from the rapper, but, thankfully, one of his closest friends spilled the tea to Us Weekly.

After turning heads at the Wall Street Journal's Innovator of the Year Awards in 2014 with his much slimmer frame, the anonymous source, who claimed to have been a friend of the rapper's for six years, told the publication that Eminem's newfound positive lifestyle had attributed to his physical changes.

"He jogs and eats well," the source said. "He's healthy and happy!"

If this is what a healthy and happy Eminem looks like, we'll take it!

Was he cloned?

Conspiracy theorists believe they've figured out why Eminem looks so different. It's just too bad their theory is nothing more than a wacky and absurd rumor that points to the new Eminem being a clone of his former self. In fact, a few uncredited blogs claim that the real Slim Shady died in a fatal car accident in 2007. Let's just ignore the fact that news publications have never reported that the rapper was ever involved in such a crash, shall we?

Obviously, this all sounds like complete hogwash, but we thought we'd throw it into the mix for good measure.

Harder times

Eminem's love life has been a hot mess since his teenage years, after he fell in and out of love with his ex-wife, Kim Scott. The former lovers had a child, Hailie, in 1995, and, in 1999, they got married … for the first time. They later divorced in 2001, only to remarry again in 2006 and get divorced for a second time that same year. He has infamously rapped about his tumultuous relationship with Scott, most notably in the song "Kim" where he viciously details how he'd take her life.

But his rocky romance wasn't the only form of stress in his life. In 2006, his close friend and D12 group member, Deshaun "Proof" Holton, was killed after an altercation at a nightclub on Eight Mile Road, according to TODAY. Speaking with The Guardian, Eminem said that the prescription pills he was taking "f****d up" his mood. He was apparently already dealing with depression, and the drugs just made things worse. When Proof was killed, things reportedly spiraled even further out of control. The rapper revealed to the website that he asked himself, "'Son of a b***h, what I am going to do now?' I went through a lot when he died. It was the worst time in my life."

Heartbreak, loss of a loved one, and depression, oh my. Sounds like this combo of life stressors could have done a number on his appearance.

Run, Marshall, run!

In 2007, the rapper revealed he had overdosed on pills and been admitted into the hospital to go through detox. At the time of that traumatic event, he weighed "close to 230 pounds," he told Men's Journal.

"I'm not sure how I got so big, but I have ideas," he said. "The coating on the Vicodin and the Valium I'd been taking for years leaves a hole in your stomach, so to avoid a stomach ache, I was constantly eating — and eating badly."

During his recovery, he made it a priority to whip himself into shape. "So I started running," he explained. "It gave me a natural endorphin high, but it also helped me sleep, so it was perfect."

He was running so much, it sounds like he'd morphed into the second coming of Forrest Gump. But the rapper admitted he got a bit "carried away" with all of the exercise. "I became a f***ing hamster," he said. "Seventeen miles a day on a treadmill. I would get up in the morning, and before I went to the studio, I would run eight and a half miles in about an hour. Then I'd come home and run another eight and a half."

In the end, he'd whittled down to 149 pounds, but his transformative weight loss came at a cost. "I ran to the point where I started to get injured. All the constant pounding from the running began to tear up my hip flexors," he said.

New hair, who dis?

One of the reasons Eminem really stood out when he released his first mainstream album was because of the way he looked. No, we're not talking about him being one of the few white rappers in the hip-hop community. We're talking about his hair. He rocked a head full of peroxide blond locks up until 2017. So, when he made a public appearance sporting his natural brown hair color for the premiere of The Defiant Ones, people barely recognized him (via The Mirror). 

It's going to take us a while to get used to his new 'do, but, shockingly, the brown hue is already starting to grow on us.

Cleaning up his act

After battling addiction and enduring a failed rehab attempt, the rapper revealed in 2010 that he was finally headed down the path to sobriety. "When I first got sober I got really happy because I was not a prisoner of addiction anymore, so life was brand-new to me," he told Reuters. "I was like, 'S**t, man, trees are beautiful again. What a nice day it is.'"

Being a father also motivated him to clean his act up. Aside from Hailie, the rapper also raised Whitney, a daughter Scott conceived during a previous relationship, and Scott's niece, Alaina, who the former couple adopted (via People). "I'm looking at my kids and [realizing] 'I need to be here for this,'" he said in a clip from the documentary How to Make Money Selling Drugs (via MTV).

So, my friends, we're now looking at a healthy, happy, and sober Eminem. His physical changes are starting to make a lot more sense now, aren't they?