"Frankly, the intensity of the response saw me bury my head in the sand deeper than I ever had in my very public life."

By Alyssa Hardy
Aug 06, 2020 @ 8:48 am
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Gwyneth Paltrow wrote a moving essay about her divorce from Coldplay singer Chris Martin, for British Vogue.  The Goop founder  detailed the years before they actually decided to split, highlighting that they "didn’t quite fit together."

"I tried to quell that knowing, to push it far down. I tried to convince myself it had been a fleeting thought, that marriage is complicated and ebbed and flowed. But I knew it. It was in my bones.  At first, I was moderately successful at turning the volume down on that knowledge. It would be years until we said the words aloud," she wrote.

Paltrow then went on to explain how despite their closeness and their friendship, something wasn't right about their relationship. Her fear, however, was what a breakup would do to her family. "Between the day that I knew and the day we finally relented to the truth, we tried everything. We did not want to fail. We didn’t want to let anyone down. We desperately didn’t want to hurt our children. We didn’t want to lose our family."

Of course, once their divorce did go public in 2014, the idea of "conscious uncoupling" catapulted its way into the zeitgeist. But while this idea was simultaneously the butt of a joke and a revolutionary concept, for Paltrow the response was difficult.

"The day came. With a plan in place, we published a newsletter on Goop, simply called “conscious uncoupling”. It was our announcement to the public that we were ending our marriage. I remember trembling on the phone to Elise Loehnen, our content chief, giving the green light to send. We knew that the piece would generate a lot of attention – a celebrity couple ending their relationship always does – but I never could have anticipated what came next. The public’s surprise gave way quickly to ire and derision," she said. "A strange combination of mockery and anger that I had never seen. I was already pretty tattered from what had been a tough year. Frankly, the intensity of the response saw me bury my head in the sand deeper than I ever had in my very public life."

After the initial shock of the response, however, Paltrow says she's grown to love how often people use the idea in their own lives and went into detail about what she feels conscious uncoupling could mean in a breakup. "You loved your ex once and you probably still do, so keep those great qualities of theirs close to your heart. Which leads me to the final and potentially most radical point: 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 said.

Paltrow and Martin certainly seem to embody these ideas. While both are in serious relationships now, Paltrow is married to Brad Falchuk and Martin is dating Dakota Johnson, they vacation together, and speak highly of each tother whenever asked. So yes, despite any ridicule of Gwyn's goopy-ness in divorce, it seems like she was really onto something the whole time.