It’s been six years since Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin announced that they were “consciously uncoupling.” In the time since, the two stars have remained close, co-parenting their two children, Apple, 16, and Moses, 14, while moving on romantically.
In a personal essay for British Vogue, Paltrow opens up about the dissolution of her first marriage and the fallout she received in the aftermath of their breakup announcement on Goop’s website.
The 47-year-old actress says she first realized her marriage to Martin was over on a trip to Italy for her 38th birthday in 2010 — almost four years before the exes broke the news of their split.
“It would be years until we said the words aloud. But, that weekend, a dam had cracked just enough to hear the unrelenting trickle of truth,” she writes. “And it grew louder until it was all I could hear.”
She adds of her relationship with the Coldplay frontman, “We were close, though we had 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.”
Paltrow says she and Martin “tried everything” to save their marriage, but admits that she hadn’t been exposed to much divorce growing up. She also had never heard of the phrase conscious uncoupling.
“Frankly, the term sounded a bit full of itself, painfully progressive and hard to swallow,” she writes, noting that the former couple’s therapist had suggested the practice.
Paltrow reveals that she and Martin tried it out for a year before announcing it officially. “It was a hit and miss. We had great days and terrible days. Days when we couldn’t stand each other, but forced ourselves to remember what we were aiming for.”
Paltrow says the widespread negative response to conscious uncoupling “saw me bury my head in the sand deeper than I ever had in my very public life.”
Six years later, Paltrow has more perspective and says conscious uncoupling has “now permeated the breakup culture.”
She goes on to share a “radical” suggestion about applying love to the process of ending a relationship.
“It’s OK to stay in love with the parts of your ex that you were always in love with. In fact, that’s what makes conscious uncoupling work,” she writes. “Love all of those wonderful parts of them. They still exist, they can still make you feel the way you felt for that person. Rather than shutting them out, lean into the unfamiliarity of those feelings and explore them.”
Paltrow, who went on to marry producer Brad Falchuk in 2018, concludes her piece by writing, “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 those two different loves can coexist and nourish each other.”
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