Whether you love her or hate her for it, you can’t deny that Gwyneth Paltrow has made a name for herself. From Oscar-winning actress to lifestyle mogul to beloved Marvel character, we’d like to see something Paltrow can’t do. Really though, that would help with our jealousy problem. Here are 42 facts about the ever-elegant Gwyneth Paltrow.
42. Born to Do it
Gwyneth Kate Paltrow was born on September 27, 1972.
41. Gene Genie
Paltrow’s got some good genes: her mother is screen siren Blythe Danner and her father, Bruce Paltrow, was also involved in the film world as a producer and director.
40. Dear Dad
Paltrow is a self-professed daddy’s girl and shared an extremely close relationship with her father until he died of cancer and pneumonia in 2002.
Paltrow’s godfather is none other than acclaimed director Steven Spielberg. The connection has helped her out in the past; Spielberg had her play Wendy in his 1991 film Hook.
38. Director Dad
Paltrow’s first role in a film, however, was actually thanks to her father: he directed her screen debut in the TV film High.
37. Summer in the Hamptons
Paltrow summers in the Hamptons almost every year, and she usually sees her godfather Steven Spielberg there. Small world!
In 2014 Paltrow hosted a fundraiser at her own private home for then-President Barack Obama.
35. Smarty Pants
Although she didn’t complete her studies, Paltrow briefly went to the University of California, Santa Barbara. She left school to focus on her acting career—looks like the move has worked well for her so far!
34. Who Do You Think You Are, Brad Pitt or Something?
After working with him on the set of Se7en, Paltrow started dating megastar and future half of Brangelina, Brad Pitt. As she later told Howard Stern “he was so gorgeous and sweet and, I mean, he was Brad Pitt, you know?” The romance wasn’t to last, however, and the two called it off after three years together.
33. Like a Son
According to Paltrow, her beloved father was crushed when she and Pitt ended their relationship. As she said, the Paltrow patriarch “loved [Pitt] like a son.”
32. First Heartbreak
The end of her relationship with Pitt, according to Paltrow herself, was a turning point in her life. As she said, “It really changed my life. When we split up, something changed, permanently, in me. My heart sort of broke that day, and it will never be the same.”
31. Saying Goodbye
Although her father was upset when his daughter and Pitt broke up, Paltrow has said that her family was somewhat less devastated when she and Ben Affleck, whom she dated on and off for three years, broke up. As she put it, “I think they appreciated how [Affleck] is super intelligent, and he’s really, really talented and he’s funny. But he wasn’t in a good place in his life to have a girlfriend so I think they were okay with—they loved him—but they were okay with us not being [together].”
30. Best Dressed
Paltrow received the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1999 for her work in Shakespeare in Love; she wore a now iconic pastel pink Ralph Lauren ballgown to the ceremony, drawing comparisons to Grace Kelly. The dress is so famous, it even has its own Wikipedia page.
29. Hand on the Bible
Although there are whispers that Paltrow stole her Oscar-winning role in Shakespeare in Love from Winona Ryder, Paltrow denies those claims. She told Howard Stern, “I swear to God I did not, I’m raising my right hand on the Bible. I swear to God.”
Paltrow has been in some iconic roles, but she’s also turned down some pretty big starring slots: she declined a role in Boogie Nights because it was a little too racy for her, and she was also up for the role of Rose in Titanic, although she didn’t ultimately get the part. But as she has said about these famous misses and passes, “I look back on some of the choices that I’ve made and I’m like, why the hell did I say no to this and yes to that? And you look at the big picture and you think there’s a universal lesson here and you know, you can’t hold on. What good is it?”
27. Shallow Pal
To play her somewhat maligned-role of an overweight woman in Shallow Hal, Paltrow wore a 25-pound fat suit.
26. Apple of My Eye
Although she dated Pitt and Affleck, Paltrow’s most famous relationship was with Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin. They met just weeks after her father’s death and married in 2003. They have two children together: Apple and Moses.
25. What an Honor
Another example of how well-connected Paltrow is: If you can believe it, she was the Maid of Honor at Madonna and Guy Ritchie’s wedding. Maid of Honor to Madonna! If I were her, that’s what my gravestone would say.
Paltrow has quite the singing voice and performed all her own singing parts in the film Duets. She even performed a real-life duet with Jay-Z for her 34th birthday.
23. Cruising to Number One
Paltrow’s cover of “Cruisin’,” which she recorded while filming Duets, was released as a single and even went to number one in Australia.
In 2008, Paltrow launched GOOP, a lifestyle website that began with regular newsletters but has since expanded. It now has its own magazine and hosts lifestyle conventions.
Paltrow is a tall drink of water: she’s five foot nine and wears a women’s nine for shoes.
20. Cheese is Whack
GOOP has received some derision for its luxury health recommendations and Paltrow herself has been criticized for being too out-of-touch and even pretentious; she once said: “I’d rather smoke crack than eat cheese from a tin.” But hey, it is hard work to get that body!
19. The Good Neighbor
Paltrow has an apartment in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York City—and it just so happens to be the same apartment building that Meryl Streep lives in. We wonder if the two ever get together just to discuss how awesome they are.
The name “GOOP” comes from Paltrow’s initials.
Despite being a mega-star, Paltrow has nonetheless experienced some film flops. She starred alongside Johnny Depp in 2015’s Mortdecai as Depp’s wife and the film was almost universally panned. Still, it’s hard to feel too sad for her.
Beginning in 2008 and continuing into the present, Paltrow has played opposite Robert Downey Jr. in the Iron Man film franchise as Pepper Potts, Tony Stark’s sassy aide and love interest. The films, as everyone knows, have been massive box office successes, so you can put “Marvel Heroine” on the list of Paltrow’s many, many accomplishments.
15. Cold Feet
Paltrow was initially reluctant to play Potts as she was wary of working on a blockbuster movie. However, once she got Marvel to send her relevant comics on the Potts character she found her to be “very smart, levelheaded, and grounded” and signed up for the role.
Jon Favreau, the director of Iron Man, revealed that he wanted Potts and Stark’s dynamic together, including their budding romance, to call back to the chemistry of 1940s comedies.
13. Making Bank
Paltrow’s net worth is estimated at up to $140 million—that’s a lot of colonics and private steam sessions!
12. The Black Dog
It’s not all aspirational juice cleanses for Paltrow, and she has been honest about her struggles in the past: She went through a lengthy, difficult labor when she gave birth to her daughter Apple. Moreover, after the birth of her son Moses in 2006, she suffered from postpartum depression.
11. Sweet and Crisp
When Paltrow had Apple in 2004, the world went wild with the name choice. Paltrow is no stranger to attention, however, and she has comfortably defended the name choice ever since. She has explained that she went with the name because apples represented sweetness and crispness, and also because she liked the biblical connotation.
10. Go Down, Moses
Although Paltrow has said that she liked her daughter’s name, Apple, in part because of its biblical associations, her son Moses, while also bearing the name of a biblical figure, is actually named after a song Martin wrote for her when he and Paltrow got married.
As a teenager, Paltrow spent time abroad in Talavera de la Reina in Toledo, Spain; as a result, she is pretty fluent in Spanish! In 2003, she was named the “adopted daughter” of Talavera de la Reina.
8. Fast and Famous Friends
Paltrow has been friends with SNL and Bridesmaids superstar Maya Rudolph since the two were children.
7. Paris, Je T’aime
In addition to speaking some pretty great Spanish, Paltrow also knows her way around the language of love: French. In her twenties, she spent a summer in Paris. How chic! Paltrow seems like she would be right at home on the streets of the City of Love.
6. In the Kitchen
Paltrow loves to cook—she’s actually the author of not one but two cookbooks—and is close friends with celebrity chef Mario Batali. With friends like these, who needs to plan dinner?
5. Adventures in Babysitting
In 2015, Paltrow’s mother Blythe Danner revealed in an Emmy acceptance speech that Kiefer Sutherland babysat Paltrow when she was a child. Who could ask for a better babysitter and protector than Jack Bauer? He could save her from choking hazards and terrorists.
4. Modern Family
Paltrow grew up with both Jewish and Christian traditions in her household; her father was Jewish and her mother was Christian. Her brother even had a Bar Mitzvah when he was 13.
3. Conscious Uncoupling
In March 2014, Martin and Paltrow coined a new word craze when they announced, via Paltrow’s GOOP website, that they had ended their relationship—oops, sorry, that they had “consciously uncoupled.” Conscious uncoupling soon became the thing amongst celebrity couples, and Martin and Paltrow seem like very close co-parents to this day.
Paltrow is now dating (and engaged to) Brad Falchuk; Falchuk is co-creator of the smash hit Glee and Paltrow appeared on the show in 2011 for a five-episode stint. Martin still makes regular appearances on her social media accounts. Conscious uncoupling indeed!
1. Anyone up for a Colonic?
Her lifestyle site GOOP has peddled alternative treatments like vaginal steaming and colonics, and she’s confessed that has no idea about most of the things posted on the site, saying “I don’t know what the f*** we talk about.” So she’s saying she doesn’t use tree bark as an aphrodisiac?