It was the “conscious uncoupling” we can’t forget. When Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin used that phrase to announce their separation after 10 years of marriage, it had everyone talking. Now a year after making the memorable announcement, Paltrow opened up this past weekend about her divorce from the Coldplay frontman while speaking at Pearl xChange, an event hosted by Nicole Richie.
During the Q&A from the event, Paltrow was asked what life endeavor didn’t turn out at all like she thought it would.
“My marriage,” she answered.
In her family and social circles, the actress says she simply hasn’t been around many divorced couples. “I am from a tribe of people who stay married. My parents stayed married until my dad died, for 32 years. All of my high school friends who I’ve grown up with and kindergarten friends, they’re all married,” she says. “I really don’t come from a culture of divorce at all.”
Paltrow says she entered her marriage with Martin with the belief that they too would stay together forever.
“I had very high hopes for what my life would be like,” she says. “I absolutely assumed that I would be in a long, successful marriage — which is happy and sad and hard, and all that.”
The fact that her hopes wouldn’t be realized was especially hard for Paltrow to reconcile.
“It was very difficult for me to come to terms with the fact that I couldn’t do that and I wouldn’t be able to be married to the father of my children for the rest of my life,” she admits. “It was very challenging for me in terms of having to reassess what that said … about me, these ideas that I had about that kind of failure and how I could process through it.
“My real self couldn’t be married,” she continues. “So it was extremely challenging and not at all how I thought it would turn out.”
Paltrow and Martin officially divorced earlier this year, but the two have managed to co-parent their two children — Apple, 11, and Moses, 9 — with relative success, from meeting for brunch to spending holidays as a family.
“Luckily, my ex-husband is an incredibly good ex-husband and he’s a great dad,” Paltrow says. “He was able to do it with me in a really collaborative way.”
Ultimately, the entire experience has taught Paltrow a lot, especially about herself.
“There’s a whole piece of it that I ended up learning an amazing amount from, but it was that real acceptance of, ‘This isn’t going to work out the way I had hoped,’ and what does that mean about who I am?” she says.
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