Gwyneth Paltrow stunned by derision over 'conscious uncoupling' phrase

LOS ANGELES • American actress Gwyneth Paltrow says deciding to split with her first husband Chris Martin was painful enough. However, nothing could have prepared her for the public mockery that greeted the announcement of their "conscious uncoupling".

That was the phrase used by the 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, who won the Best Actress Oscar for her role in Shakespeare In Love (1998), 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, 47, 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 "conscious uncoupling" 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 has a daughter, 16, and a son, 14, with Martin - remarried in 2018 to television producer Brad Falchuk, 49. Martin, 43, attended the wedding and joined the newlyweds on their honeymoon.

She said times have changed in the way people treat their break-ups. "Instead of people approaching me with, 'Why did you say that?', they now approach me with, 'How do you do that?'," she said.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2020, with the headline 'Gwyneth Paltrow stunned by derision over 'conscious uncoupling' phrase'. Subscribe