Gwyneth Paltrow has been exalted for so long as the epitome of Hollywood and motherhood, she’s become a caricature of herself. But at 44, she’s still a very real deal. Sure, she’s won an Oscar, pals around with Beyoncé and has become a global lifestyle brand. But at the end of the day, it’s all about being yourself, she tells Harper’s Bazaar.
If she has any faults at all (there are few), one is probably being an over-discloser.
She’s put it all out there, from her personal life, her marriage and “conscious uncoupling” from ex-husband Chris Martin, to parenting her two children, her acting career and her preferences for breakfast, lunch and dinner on her Web site Goop.
Of course, that has a downside. When you open yourself up, it opens the door for other people to step on your self-esteem in a big way, with lots of hate over social media.
Paltrow acknowledges she once struggled with it.
When I was starting out, I would get printouts of what was being written about me that week. At first it was all good things, and then it started to turn. I very quickly learned, “This isn’t good, this isn’t helping me.” These were strangers, and they were opining on anything in my life, from where I ate dinner to what movie I chose to do to who I was dating, and I was just like, “This isn’t going to be beneficial to my process as a human being in this lifetime.”
But it helped her develop a real understanding that “one’s sense of self is internal,” she tells the magazine.
“I have had an extreme opportunity to learn that lesson, and I think it’s been such a blessed fortune. Occasionally, I’ll come across something that’s just annoying, but for the most part it’s irrelevant to me,” she says.
If she has any other fault (and this one is questionable), she’s an over-achiever with a tendency toward perfectionism.
“I cannot function if there is a physical mess around me,” she says. “If everything is falling apart, I go on a cleaning frenzy. I cannot go to sleep with dishes in the sink.”
Even she sometimes wonders what it’s all about.
“My drive is something that I don’t fully understand, she says. “I don’t know if I came to this life with it or if it’s something that came to me in my childhood, but I do feel that some of the things my parents said to me and how they raised me really stuck with me.”
“I remember when I started acting and didn’t get a part and was really jealous of the girl who got it. My mom would say to me, “If you don’t get a part, that means it’s not your part. It’s just not yours. You will have your parts.” It really recalibrated me at a very young age to where I could be driven because I was trying to achieve things for myself, and that had nothing to do with what anybody else was doing.”
She tries to instill the same thing in her kids, daughter Apple, who is now 12 and son Moses, who is 10.
“I’ve borne these two kids into a particularly strange circumstance. They are going to have to fend off a lot and protect themselves from a lot of projections and prejudice about who they are, coming from the family that they come from,” Paltrow says.
“My daughter is super ballsy. I always follow her lead. I actually don’t need to encourage her to take risks. She likes to push herself; she wants to see how far she can get. It’s really inspiring to see that in a young woman.”
As for Beyoncé, “If you met her and you didn’t know who she was or what she did, it would be inconceivable to you that she was Beyoncé,” she says.
For more from the interview check out Harper’s Bazaar online. And, check out Gwyn’s stunning photos.