Though she is one of Hollywood’s most successful actors, Gwyneth Paltrow has faced relentless criticism in recent years. From her questionable wellness practices to her recent courtroom drama, Paltrow is a magnet for controversy. Hate her or love her, she continues to stay relevant for the most unbelievable reasons.
1. She’s A Nepo Baby
Gwyneth Paltrow was the nepo baby of the nineties. With famous parents like actress Blythe Danner and producer-director Bruce Paltrow, the acting world was far easier for her to break into than the average Hollywood hopeful. And heck, her godfather none other than Steven Spielberg, who later gave her one of her first roles as Wendy in Hook. But while she was in her teens, Paltrow’s parents had another life in mind for her.
They wanted their teen daughter to stay in college…that is, until they witnessed one unforgettable performance.
2. She Had To Prove Herself
In 1991, Paltrow shocked her father with her performance in the play Picnic. According to Blythe Danner, she “stole the show,” and the audience’s applause for Paltrow was deafening. Afterward, her father completely surprised her: He told her not to go back to college. She’d proven that she certainly had the acting chops—and yet, she couldn’t rely on her parents to bankroll her new Hollywood lifestyle.
3. She Worked Hard For The Money
19-year-old Paltrow moved to LA to pursue acting—but her rich parents refused to give her any money. Afraid of raising a spoiled child, her parents wanted their daughter to work hard and earn her own income. Paltrow brought home ten dollars a day as a hostess while auditioning for as many parts as possible.
By 1994, the young actress already had an impressive resume. However, it was her role in Se7en that brought her face-to-face with one of the hottest actors in Hollywood.
4. She Dated Hollywood's Biggest Heartthrob
When Gwyneth Paltrow met Brad Pitt her life changed forever. On the set of Se7en, the two actors sparked a romantic connection—and the resulting relationship propelled her into the public eye more than ever before. It was something of a wake-up call for the 22-year-old actress: She quickly learned that being part of a celebrity couple had a chilling dark side.
5. She Faced The Paparazzi
Together, Paltrow and Pitt became high-profile targets for the paparazzi. For a private person like Paltrow, her celebrity status caused her to feel a certain amount of pressure. Suddenly, everyone wanted the inside scoop on her personal life. Even her vacations weren’t safe spaces, with photographers staking out her hotel balcony and distributing images without her consent.
Of course, this was only the beginning.
6. She Was The “It” Girl Of The Nineties
Gwyneth Paltrow truly demonstrated her acting range by taking on the lead role in the adaptation of Emma. Audiences were completely captivated by her performance in the period piece, and the positive reception cemented her as a certifiable “it” girl. But her career wasn’t the only part of her life heating up.
7. She Struggled Behind Closed Doors
The next year, Gwyneth Paltrow joined Brad Pitt in Argentina, where he was filming Seven Years in Tibet—and that’s where the couple announced their engagement to the world. But while they seemed like the picture-perfect couple, behind closed doors, Paltrow struggled with being the center of so much attention. Sadly, her inner turmoil would be the catalyst for her relationship’s ultimate downfall.
8. She Blamed Herself
Only six months after announcing their engagement, Paltrow and Pitt went their separate ways—but it was Paltrow who felt responsible for the sensational breakup. In an interview, she confessed, “I just made a big mess out of it…I was the architect of my own misery”. The split caused a tabloid feeding frenzy—and Paltrow got thrown under the bus.
9. She Was An Ice Princess
After her breakup with Pitt, Paltrow’s image suffered. She became described as an “Ice Princess” with a cold personality. But despite the negative perceptions from the outside world, in Hollywood, she was still a queen. The roles kept on rolling in. But when the script for Shakespeare in Love landed in her lap, she had a surprising reaction.
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10. She Almost Turned Down Her Biggest Role
Still weary from her recent breakup, Paltrow wasn’t interested in more work—and so, at first, she didn’t want to take on Shakespeare in Love. Thankfully, she came to her senses, realizing that the script was too good to pass up. What’s more? In the wake of her heartache, the project led her straight to her next love interest.
12. She Dated Her Co-Star
During filming, Gwyneth Paltrow had a relationship with her co-star, Ben Affleck. But she’d learned her lesson from her relationship with Brad Pitt, and tried to keep this new romance as private as possible. After a year together, the couple called it quits. However, because they remained close friends, the media continued to drive home the idea that they were still together.
Little did she know, there was even more heartbreak on the horizon.
13. She Fell Into A Deep Depression
Paltrow’s next project was The Talented Mr Ripley—but few know that it was one of the worst chapters of her life. During filming, the actress received some harrowing news: her grandfather, Buster, had liver cancer. She and Buster had an unbelievably close bond, and therefore, this tragic news sent her spiraling into a deep depression. But it was about to get so much worse.
14. She Got The Worst News Possible
While working on location, all Paltrow wanted to do was return home so that she could be with her grandfather. Then, only six weeks later, fate threw her another tragic curveball: Her father also had cancer. She later described the moment she found out about his diagnosis, saying, “Immediately, I went completely into shock”.
15. She Did It For Her Father
Although everyone was ravenous to have Gwyneth Paltrow star in their movie after Shakespeare in Love, her next project was a small film called Duets, which was directed by her father. With filming starting only three weeks after his cancer treatment finished, Bruce Paltrow’s health was not great. But working on this film with her father became a labor of love—and throughout the shoot, she remained a pillar of strength for him.
Little did she know, this would be her father’s last production.
16. She Went On A Doomed Road Trip
Although Paltrow’s grandfather passed in 1999, by 2002, she thought that her father had beaten his cancer and was out of harm’s way. She was terribly wrong. That year, Valentino threw a lavish party for Paltrow’s birthday in Italy. Her father attended, and after that unforgettable night, the two of them set out on a road trip through the country. It ended in disaster.
17. She Never Saw It Coming
During what was supposed to be a joyful journey, Paltrow’s father-daughter trip came to a shuddering halt. Her father came down with pneumonia, and they had no choice but to fly to Rome. In an unexpected twist of fate, Bruce Paltrow passed from his illness, leaving his daughter completely broken. But only a few weeks after this tragedy, Gwyneth Paltrow experienced a life-altering encounter.
18. She Met Her Future Husband
In the midst of Paltrow’s grief, her best friend came to her aid—and convinced her to go out for a night. They attended a Coldplay concert, and that’s where she met her future husband—the band’s lead singer, Chris Martin. After their backstage meet-cute, Paltrow swiftly formed a strong connection with Martin. In fact, not long after, he wrote a very important song for her.
19. He Wrote Her A Song
One of Coldplay’s most popular songs is “Fix You”—but few know that it was actually written for Gwyneth Paltrow to help her cope with the loss of her father. The couple’s relationship began in the midst of the actress’s personal tragedy, but as Paltrow climbed out of the darkness of grief, she had a silver lining to look to. Then, a year later, her life shifted once again. This time, there was cause for celebration.
20. She Kept A Heartwarming Secret
A year later, Paltrow and Martin discretely eloped—and they managed to keep a huge secret from the media. Paltrow was already pregnant by the time she said, “I do”. But after the happy couple welcomed their daughter, Apple, into their lives, they were rarely seen out and about.
Paltrow was extremely protective of her new baby—and cut down on her film roles as she stepped into her new role as a mother. But there were still challenges ahead for her.
21. She Struggled With Depression
In 2006, Paltrow’s family grew once after she gave birth to her son, Moses. But something wasn’t quite right. Though she tried her best to hide it, the actress struggled with post-partum depression. She later described it as “incredibly debilitating, and scary, and you just don’t feel like yourself”.
It was a difficult time for Paltrow—but the next year, a new opportunity threw her back into the limelight.
22. She Had A Comeback
Gwyneth Paltrow returned to the big screen with a big bang in 2007’s Iron Man. She said that Robert Downey Jr asked her, “Don’t you want to be in a movie that people actually see?” And he was right. Everyone went to the theater to see Iron Man and it was a massive hit.
But while Paltrow proved she still had her star power, the next seven years led her to one of the most pivotal moments of her life.
23. Her Marriage Was In Trouble
Although Paltrow and Martin seemed like the perfect celebrity couple, they hid an unsettling truth: Their marriage was on the rocks. This was especially distressing for Paltrow because she was so averse to the idea of divorce because of her own parents’ successful marriage, and because people in her family rarely split up. It felt like a failure.
But as the years passed, things only got worse.
24. She Admitted Defeat
Though Paltrow and Martin announced their “conscious uncoupling” in 2014, she later admitted that she knew it was over nearly four years before they officially announced their separation. Paltrow admitted that she and Martin tried everything in an attempt to salvage their marriage, but ultimately realized they had no other choice. Still, there were some heartbreaking repercussions.
25. Her Ex Took It Hard
Although Paltrow and Martin enjoy a happy co-parenting relationship today, at the time, the breakup had a chilling effect on both of them, especially Chris Martin. Reportedly, he spent a year struggling with depression, and at one point, even called his separation “…a weird one”.
In 2016, the couple finalized their divorce. But though Paltrow closed this important chapter of her life, she’d already embarked on a brand new one.
26. She Started A Lifestyle Brand
These days, Paltrow is known for so much more than her acting. Her company Goop started all the way back in 2008. At first, it was a lifestyle newsletter she sent out weekly—but it wasn’t long before it turned into a full-fledged company. Goop is now a “modern lifestyle brand,” however, the products it showcases have landed Gwyneth Paltrow in sticky situations time and time again.
27. Her Company Is Controversial
Although Paltrow’s intentions may have been good, Goop has become incredibly controversial. To kick off the long list of questionable marketing tactics, there are the infamous jade eggs. Goop claimed that these eggs regulated menstruation and balanced hormones. Unfortunately, these claims were all “unsubstantiated”—and the company paid a serious price.
28. She Couldn't Back Up Her Claims
Due to the jade egg fiasco, Goop shelled out a whopping $145,000 in civil penalties. Going forward, the company would not be allowed to make medical statements without proper confirmation. (Of course, Goop continues to sell the eggs). But even this didn’t seem as bad as the company’s weekend summit in 2019, which left attendees enraged.
29. Her Fans Turned On Her
Those who attended the Goop summit were sorely disappointed by the experience and directed all of their anger at Gwyneth Paltrow herself. Some of her biggest fans turned on her, criticizing the whole summit as an overpriced sales pitch. One guest even said, “Gwyneth acts like she’s a health goddess, but actually she’s a pretentious, greedy extortionist…She did the minimum”.
But that wasn’t all.
30. She Costs A Pretty Penny
The price for attending Goop’s summit was $5,700 for “restorative workshops and classes,” as well as accommodation and food. Many found their experience to be underwhelming for such a staggering amount of money. But according to Goop, most attendees had a “positive” experience, claiming that the package’s true value was actually $8,000, thus making it a great deal.
It doesn’t end there.
31. Her Products Don't Make Sense
As the face of Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s choices have made her a very divisive figure in the wellness industry. One product, in particular, was especially eyebrow-raising. Goop introduced “bio-frequency stickers” which were apparently made with a material used by NASA—a conductive carbon material that lines space suits. These stickers were supposed to help energy imbalances in the body. NASA’s response was laughable.
32. NASA Called Her Out
For all the claims that Paltrow and her team make, the science often doesn’t add up. NASA, of course, denied that they used the same special material that GOOP used for their stickers. But while these “bio-frequency stickers” seemed nonsensical, they were still harmless…unlike other practices that Paltrow’s brand endorses.
33. She Promotes Dangerous Procedures
Ever heard of bee sting therapy? Also called apipuncture, it’s pretty painful, not to mention dangerous. However, Paltrow claims that bee venom can help with a multitude of ailments, including arthritis, scarring, and inflammation. Medical studies tell another story.
Unsurprisingly, this “therapy” poses risks like strokes and anaphylaxis. But that’s not the scariest part.
34. There Are Tragic Consequences
In 2018, a Spanish woman actually lost her life to the very same therapy Paltrow encourages. With increased exposure to bee venom, chances of becoming sensitive to it go up. This woman had been undergoing apipuncture every month for two years before the fateful session that ended her life.
But does Gwyneth Paltrow’s questionable health advice end here? Absolutely not.
35. She Shared Her Questionable Diet
In addition to touting “wellness” practices like intravenous vitamin therapy and colonics, Paltrow has recently come under fire for sharing her questionable eating habits on the podcast, “Art of Being Well”.
This is the segment that had jaws dropping: “I usually eat something [at] about 12. And in the morning, I’ll have some things that won’t spike my blood sugar. So, I have coffee. But I really like soup for lunch. I have bone broth for lunch a lot of the days. And then, for dinner, I try to eat, you know, according to Paleo. So, lots of vegetables. It’s really important for me to support my detox".
36. She Faced The Critics
After Paltrow revealed her shockingly spare diet, the critics came for her. Some believed the actress guilty of promoting disordered eating. Registered dietician, Lauren Cadillac, weighed in, saying, “This is NOT enough food. Coffee isn’t a meal. Bone broth isn’t a meal”. Others noted that cleanses and detox diets aren’t even scientifically proven.
With so much vitriol thrown her way, Paltrow responded over social media, reminding everyone that she didn’t eat like this every day, but used this diet as a way for her to treat her “long COVID” symptoms.
37. She Met Her Match
Gwyneth Paltrow met her current husband, producer Brad Falchuck, in 2010—before she divorced Chris Martin. They met on the set of Glee, and reconnected four years later, eventually making their relationship public in 2015. Though Paltrow still likes to keep her love life private, it seems as though her current relationship is going strong…even if her adoration for Falchuck sometimes weirds her kids out.
38. Her Kids Keep Her On Her Toes
In 2022, Paltrow shared a funny, little anecdote in her Goop newsletter. Her children changed her iPhone lock screen after they saw what their mother had chosen as a background: “My lock screen was a picture of Brad without his shirt on. And my kids were so traumatized that they picked up the phone and took this selfie”.
But though Paltrow is more than happy with her marriage, she’s recently opened up about her prior relationships.
39. She Opened Up About Her Famous Exes
In 2023, Gwyneth Paltrow was a guest on the popular podcast, Call Her Daddy, and answered some scandalous questions about her exes, Brad Pitt and Ben Affleck. She admitted that Pitt was more romantic, while Affleck was more likely to make her laugh. Diplomatically, she confessed that they were both excellent kissers. But then the host asked her which actor was better in bed.
40. She Spilled The Tea
Paltrow had a difficult time ranking her exes, especially when it came to spilling the dirty details. She described making love with Brad Pitt as “major chemistry, love of your life,” and Ben Affleck as “technically excellent”. Of course, when her ex-husband’s name cropped up in the conversation, she had only good things to say about him.
41. She'd Do It All Again
The host of Call Her Daddy, Alex Cooper, took things to the next level when she asked which ex Gwyneth Paltrow would sleep with, marry, or kill off. The marriage answer was easy. She said that she’d “obviously” marry Chris Martin because their relationship had given her them their beloved children: “So I would do that all again”. But the toss-up between who to sleep with and who to boot? That was harder.
42. She's Still Friends With Her Exes
As cringey as this game was, Paltrow obviously had a favorite ex and chose Brad as the man she'd most like to sleep with. Paltrow admitted that—despite their messy breakup—she and Brad were able to reconnect and remain good friends. In fact, in the nineties, he did something very special for her—an act of chivalry she’ll never forget.
43. She Was A Victim
In 2017, Gwyneth Paltrow alleged that Harvey Weinstein had harassed her when she was 22. This was right before the peak of her career. After being cast as the lead in 1996’s Emma, she met with him at a hotel for a meeting—but it took a horrifying turn. Allegedly, Weinstein got handsy with her and invited her to the bedroom for massages.
The incident caused a shocking ripple effect.
44. Her Boyfriend Stood Up For Her
Scandalized by the producer’s chilling behavior, Paltrow told her then-boyfriend Brad Pitt about the disturbing encounter. In a 2018 interview on The Howard Stern Show, Paltrow revealed a jaw-dropping piece of information. Apparently, after Brad Pitt learned about Weinstein’s behavior, he approached the producer and threatened him.
45. She Holds Him In High Regard
According to Paltrow, Pitt confronted Weinstein at the Broadway opening of Hamlet, and said, “If you ever make her feel uncomfortable again, I’ll kill you”. Paltrow elaborated on how Pitt’s reaction made her feel safe: “It was so fantastic because what he did was, he leveraged his fame and power to protect me at a time when I didn’t have fame or power yet. He’s the best”.
46. She Had A Fateful Accident
Gwyneth Paltrow is no stranger to controversy, but her ski accident trial made headlines for some rather bizarre reasons. Paltrow found herself in court due to the repercussions of a 2016 skiing accident. In 2019, a retired doctor named Terry Sanderson filed a lawsuit against the star, claiming that Paltrow had crashed into him while skiing. He sued her for $300,000. But that was just the beginning.
47. She Countersued
Sanderson also claimed that Paltrow had caused him serious injuries, including broken ribs and a brain injury. Further tainting her reputation, he said that the actress fled the scene after the accident. Paltrow not only denied these allegations, but also filed a countersuit—and requested only one dollar in damages.
When the trial began on March 21, 2023, nobody could have expected it to go the way it did.
48. Her Trial Became Entertainment
Sanderson’s lawyer, Kristin VanOrman, became the subject of many internet memes throughout the trial. She made some mind-boggling comments about Paltrow’s body, asking about her height, She even stated that she was “jealous” of the actress’s size, calling her “small but mighty,” followed by, “Actually, you’re not that small”.
But her cringeworthy moments didn’t end there.
49. She Played The Part Perfectly
VanOrman somehow roped Taylor Swift into her line of questioning, asking about Paltrow’s friendship with the popstar, who also sued a DJ for one dollar in 2017. But it was also Paltrow’s privileged persona that entranced audiences everywhere. Perhaps her most viral statement was in response to a question posed by VanOrman, asking her if the skiing incident negatively affected her vacation. Paltrow replied, “Well, I lost half a day of skiing, yes”.
50. She Wished Him Well
In the end, Gwyneth Paltrow came out on top, making Terry Sanderson deeply regret ever coming after her. The jury found him “100 percent” at fault. Then, on her way out, Paltrow gave the viewers one last viral moment—the cherry on top of this celebrity trial fiasco. She whispered four words in Sanderson’s ear: “I wish you well”. His response? “Thank you, dear”.