Life Lessons from Gwyneth Paltrow

By Interview

September 29, 2021

Welcome to Life Lessons. This week, we honor our Libra supreme— Gwyneth Paltrow—for her birthday week by revisiting her December/January 2005  cover story. During the interview, which took place a few months after the native New Yorker moved to London with her then-husband Chris Martin, Paltrow reflects on a decade of tabloid headlines and fame. So sit back, and light up your favorite Goop candle—you just might learn a thing or two.

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“I spent my twenties being so peripatetic, and one of the things I imagined when I got pregnant was, now we’re going to settle down, and I’m going to start wearing clogs and never leave my neighborhood.”

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“I spend a good portion of my dinner-party conversation defending America because no matter what the political agenda, it’s still a fantastic, amazing  place.”

“I understand that if you want to be a celebrity, then you asked for it, but all I wanted to be was an actor.”

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“I’ve had an incredible career, and I’m interested to see how I’m going to address the rest of it, and if I’m going to keep going.”

“As you start to kick off the boxes, you realize that none of those things bring lasting happiness or insight. It’s great stuff, and yeah, I made a movie in Paris and all these other things I always wanted to do, but then you have a family and you think, ‘Well, this is it. This is really what I was looking for all along.’”

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“It didn’t dawn on me that I could just say no, so I think I burned out a bit. It took me a while to reclaim my idea of who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do.”

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“The great thing about winning something like an Oscar early on, though, is it takes the pressure off. You can try different things, you can make mistakes, but they can’t take it back!”

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“Sometimes when things you love get really commercial, you end up feeling betrayed by it.”

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“My dad always said he couldn’t remember a time when I did not want to act; but it was more something I wanted to do for real, so I wasn’t, like, the high-school play queen or anything.”

“I didn’t feel like I was popular exactly, but I did feel confident—that’s something my parents instilled in me.”

“One of the downsides of growing up in New York is that it’s very erudite and sophisticated, so you don’t really get to immerse yourself in Americana and enjoy it as much as other teenagers do.”

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“I was mistaken in thinking that a lot of my perceived identity was based on being an actor and how I was viewed in the world.

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“I was very interested in art and art history, so working in a gallery or an auction house or something like that. I would have loved to train to be a chef, which I still may do.”

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