Gwyneth Paltrow stunned by derision over her ‘conscious uncoupling’ announcement

FILE PHOTO: ELLE Women in Hollywood in Los Angeles
FILE PHOTO: Gwyneth Paltrow attends the 26th annual ELLE Women in Hollywood in Los Angeles, California, U.S., October 14, 2019. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

August 7, 2020

(Reuters) – Gwyneth Paltrow says deciding to split with her first husband Chris Martin was painful enough, but nothing could have prepared her for the public mockery that greeted the announcement of their “conscious uncoupling.”

That was the phrase used by the “Shakespeare in Love” actress and the Coldplay frontman when they announced in 2014 that they were separating after 10 years of marriage, but hoped to remain close friends.

In an essay in the September issue of British Vogue magazine, Paltrow said she knew the celebrity split would get attention.

“But I never could have anticipated what came next. The public’s surprise gave way quickly to ire and derision. A strange combination of mockery and anger that I had never seen,” Paltrow wrote. “The intensity of the response saw me bury my head in the sand deeper than I ever had in my very public life.”

Paltrow, who is also the founder of lifestyle company Goop, said the phrase was introduced by the couple’s therapist as they were working out how to avoid acrimony and stay close despite their split.

“Frankly, the term sounded a bit full of itself, painfully progressive and hard to swallow. … I was intrigued, less by the phrase, but by the sentiment,” she said.

Paltrow, who had two children with Martin, married for a second time in 2018 to television producer Brad Falchuk. Martin attended the wedding and joined the newlyweds on their honeymoon.

She said times have changed in the way people treat their breakups.

“Instead of people approaching me with, ‘Why did you say that?’, they now approach me with, ‘How do you do that?’,” she said.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; editing by Jonathan Oatis)