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Gwyneth Paltrow's shock revelation about marriage to Chris Martin — how she knew it was over

The Coldplay frontman and Goop founder share two children Apple and Moses

Faye James
Senior Editor
July 2, 2024
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Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay’s Chris Martin shocked the world in 2014 when they announced their ‘conscious uncoupling,’ ending their decade-long marriage. 

For fans, the news was unexpected, especially given the seemingly perfect façade of their relationship. The couple, who share two children, daughter Apple, now 20, and son Moses, 18, had always appeared to be the epitome of Hollywood harmony. Yet, behind the scenes, there were cracks that only Gwyneth could see.

In a candid essay for British Vogue, Gwyneth, 51, reveals the poignant moment she realized her marriage was over. “It was my birthday, my 38th,” she begins, painting a picture of what should have been an idyllic getaway.

“My ex-husband [Chris] and I were tucked away in the Tuscan countryside, on a hill in a beautiful cottage with a view of the forest. Fall was coming; the leaves were just loosening their grip on bright green. Inside, the cottage was perfectly appointed in the way you dream of for a birthday trip: cosy living room with a fireplace, kitchen table overflowing with spoils from the farm nearby – peaches, tomatoes on the vine, basil, eggs.”

Despite the serene setting, Gwyneth felt a growing sense of unease. “I don’t recall when it happened, exactly. I don’t remember which day of the weekend it was or the time of day. But I knew – despite long walks and longer lie-ins, big glasses of Barolo and hands held – my marriage was over.” This heartbreaking realisation marked the beginning of the end for the couple, even though the actual words would not be spoken for years.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin back in 2003© Bauer-Griffin
Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin back in 2003

Reflecting on their relationship, Gwyneth shares, “We were close, though we never fully settled into being a couple. We just didn’t quite fit together. 

There was always a bit of unease and unrest. But man, did we love our children.” Despite their efforts to keep their family unit intact, the underlying tension proved insurmountable. “The only divorces I had been around growing up had been bitter, acrimonious, unending,” she admits, a fate she was determined to avoid.

Gwyneth admitted she thought her and Chris never fitted as a couple© Mario Magnani
Gwyneth admitted she thought her and Chris never fitted as a couple

Gwyneth and Chris’s decision to ‘consciously uncouple’ was not a spur-of-the-moment choice but a considered approach suggested by their therapist.

They tested this method privately for a year before going public with their split. “Was there a world where we could break up and not lose everything? Could we be a family, even though we were not a couple? We decided to try,” she explains. 

Gwyneth and Chris in 2014 just before announcing their split© Larry Busacca/NBC
Gwyneth and Chris in 2014 just before announcing their split

Their joint statement on Gwyneth’s Goop website encapsulated their hope: “It is with hearts full of sadness that we have decided to separate. We have come to the conclusion that while we love each other very much, we will remain separate. We are, however, and always will be a family, and in many ways are closer than we have ever been.”

The public’s reaction to their announcement was mixed, with many mocking the term ‘conscious uncoupling.’ Gwyneth recalls, “The public’s surprise gave way to a strange combination of mockery and anger I had never seen.” Yet, over time, people began to see the value in their approach. “These days, instead of ridicule, people ask me how we managed to do it.”

gwyneth paltrow and husband brad falchuk on the beach© Instagram
Gwyneth and Brad have been married for over five years

For Gwyneth, the journey of conscious uncoupling required deep introspection and accountability. “It’s very different for every couple but, for me, it meant, more than anything, being accountable for my own part in the dissolution of the relationship. 

“There existed aspects of myself I was trying to heal through this relationship that I wasn’t honest with myself about. I had been blind, guarded, invulnerable, intolerant. I had to admit that and be brave enough to share it.”

Both Gwyneth and Chris have since found new loves. Gwyneth married film director Brad Falchuk, 53, in 2018, a man known for his work on American Horror Story, Glee, and Scream Queens. 

Photo shared by Gwyneth Paltrow on Instagram in honor of Father's Day of her and Chris Martin with their kids Apple and Moses© Instagram
Photo shared by Gwyneth Paltrow on Instagram in honor of Father's Day of her and Chris Martin with their kids Apple and Moses

Chris, 47, has been in a relationship with 34-year-old Fifty Shades of Grey actress Dakota Johnson. Remarkably, Gwyneth, Chris, and Dakota maintain a harmonious relationship, often spending holidays and family gatherings together. 

Back in March, reports surfaced that Chris and Dakota had gotten engaged after six years of dating, further cementing their bond.

Looking back, Gwyneth acknowledges the role both men have played in her life. “I know my ex-husband was meant to be the father of my children, and I know my current husband is meant to be the person I grow very old with. Conscious uncoupling lets us recognize that those two different loves can coexist and nourish each other.”

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