If I was expecting a quiet week I was mistaken – thanks to Gwyneth Paltrow. The famously perfect wife and mother/Oscar winner/lifestyle guru had said some rather unusual things about her marriage to the increasingly sulky (at least when he’s with her) Chris Martin.
“Life is complicated and long and I know people that I respect and admire and look up to who have had extra-marital affairs. It’s like we’re flawed – we’re human beings and sometimes you make choices that other people are going to judge. That’s their problem but I really think that the more I live my life the more I learn not to judge people for what they do. I think we’re all trying our best but life is complicated.” Not the kind of thing you expect from a supposedly happily married, perfectionist like her.
These surprising remarks come straight on the heels of something perhaps equally telling. “Sometimes it’s hard being with someone for a long time. We go through periods that aren’t all rosy,” she recently told Elle magazine about her husband of 8 years. “I always say, life is long, and you never know what’s going to happen.” She added that she had no regrets in choosing the Coldplay frontman to be the father of Apple, seven, and Moses, five. “If God forbid, we were ever not to be together, I respect him so much as the father of my children. Like, I made such a good choice. He’s such a good dad. You can never be relaxed or smug and think, ‘I’ve got this thing’. That’s also part of it – keeping yourself on your toes. I’m not going to take this for granted.”
It was just a few minutes before my phone blew up. “She’s got to be testing the waters with this – are they splitting?” shrieked one high profile celebrity publicist down the line. A NYC magazine editor weighed in, “who says things like this about their husband if they are planning to stay with him?” And one famous Londoner remarked that she’d even heard rumours that the celebrated pair had been on the verge of announcing a split for months. In an attempt to get to the bottom of it, I tracked down a few FOG’s (friends of Gwyneth) to get their take on the unlikely remarks. “Not true!’ barked one before abruptly disconnecting in irritation at my waking her – LA is 8 hours behind us after all. (why do I keep forgetting that?) “She’s with him right now,” added another pal, “she’s on tour with him! I saw her backstage in Chicago last night. They’re fine. She’s not exactly going to be travelling the country with him if they’re planning to break up is she?”
Herein lies my dilemma. As a showbiz journalist, most magazine editors will tell you that few things are worse than announcing a split or a pregnancy that never happens. But there’s something about this pairing that has had us rabid celeb watchers frothing at the mouth for a break-up announcement for some time. Paltrow’s long-suffering publicist Stephen Huvane (who by the way is sooo tired of hearing from me) always says that these rumours kick off ONLY because the couple have chosen to consistently avoid being photographed together. But I disagree. It’s more than that.
Her provocative comments aside, these two are undeniably of different natures. Chris seems obsessed with staying out of the limelight, and has literally snapped – walked out of interviews in a rage – when asked about his private life, especially about his famous wife. Meanwhile polar opposite Gwyneth clearly enjoys the attention. After all, how many times have we seen her in her bikini this summer? And before you tell me that she can’t help it if she’s papped– she knew those guys were there on the beach in Barbados after the first set of snaps appeared everywhere. She then helpfully wore a different suit each day because she knew it would make for better pictures. But she works out 2 hours a day, looks incredible and has a fitness empire with trainer Tracy Anderson to promote – so why not? The hardworking mum also has a best-selling cookbook, an aspirational lifestyle website GOOP, not to mention some very successful appearances on GLEE (including showing up on their tour to sing). Not one to rest on her laurels – she’s in negotiations to record her own album of music, is fronting a Coach ad campaign and has the small detail of an Oscar winning film career to think about. And all of these projects invariably involve interviews where she is asked about, guess what, her family. Unlike her reticent hubby, she knows how to play the fame game. She even hilariously tweeted recently, ‘who do I have to bang to get an advance copy of the new Coldplay album? Seriously.”
It’s clear that this is one girl who thrives on the spotlight – but is she in it all on her own? For me the kicker was when she SANG at this year’s Oscars and Grammys and Chris didn’t even turn up. You know how nervous she must have been? Singing in front of her industry’s most important and influential peers. Whatever the reason, whatever the excuse, to me that spoke volumes about the nature of their relationship. But she doesn’t hold grudges. Gwyneth is currently with her Coldplay husband, supporting him on his world tour.
I can tell you that despite what may be your impression of Gwyneth’s personality, her occasionally insufferable and oftentimes outrageously smug sounding comments in interviews – those who really know her, REALLY LIKE her. I’m not kidding. I have heard from literally dozens of people who have all spent a lot of time (or even lived) with her and they all say the same, ‘funny, friendly, loyal, generous, extremely thoughtful and kind.” She’s also mad about her kids. “She talks about them all the time. Mosey (her nickname for her son) this or Apple that. She is passionate about being a mom.”
Personally, I think the key to the whole thing lies in the part of the Elle interview that everyone is forgetting about. She says at the end, “You can never be relaxed or smug and think, ‘I’ve got this thing’. That’s also part of it – keeping yourself on your toes. I’m not going to take this for granted.”
Some marriages appear effortless, some relationships are just easy –trust me, this is not one of those. To me, Gwyneth is clearly working as hard at her marriage as she does at everything else – if not harder. And for that, if nothing else, we need to give this girl a little credit.