London - After sharing 11 years, two children, five homes and eight ton of steamed kale together, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin have announced that they have separated.
The Hollywood actress and the Coldplay rock star simply cannot stay together for a second longer; not for the sake of the children, not for the sake of defeating those pesky rumours of her affairs, not for the sake of themselves, not for the sake of anything.
It is always sad when a marriage ends, particularly one with small children caught in the crossfire.
However, millions of fans have been nourished and heartened by the Oscar-winner’s glutinous insistence this is no ordinary, everyday, messy, bitter, unhappy, family-smashing, god-awful break-up. Like yours might be.
This is actually a very beautiful thing, a lovely event; something that ordinary people like us might even, you know, envy.
Via her lifestyle website Goop, Paltrow announced that the couple were not to split up as such, but to “consciously uncouple” from each other.
An irony-free chunk of classic Paltrow pretentiousness, it made them sound like two camels detaching from a desert train in search of tastier macro-biotic foliage.
Like a plucky sidecar finally trundling free from the tyranny of a motorbike. Like a pair of tights who suddenly find out that they were stockings all along.
Being “consciously uncoupled” certainly made breaking up the family home and “co-parenting” nine-year-old Apple and Moses, seven, seem like something holistic and pure; an experience you’d order at a wellbeing spa, along with the coffee enema.
Not one little bit like the pile of steaming heartbreak, recrimination and guilt that is the definitive divorce experience for most couples — with or without children.
Yet where others falter, Chris and Gwyneth flourish. They are not to blame. They have not failed in their duty as parents and spouses.
For in her statement, Paltrow added that she and Martin “love each other very much” and are “closer than they have ever been”. Really? Then why bother to split up?
The truth is that the marriage has been in difficulty for some time as they struggled to find a compromise in their independent careers and global lifestyles that suited both. Unsurprisingly, this proved impossible.
Like the determined A-listers they are, Paltrow and Martin put themselves and their own needs first.
However, this marital breakdown is something Gwyneth, a self-appointed lifestyle guru and professional Goody Two Shoes, must gloss over with feel-good bonhomie and upbeat topspin.
For after ramming her 500-thread count, six-ply cashmere, super-luxurious organic lifestyle down our throats until we scream, to confess that not everything in her home life was as perfect as she pretended would be a hypocrisy and a farce. So the spangled charade goes on.
“We have come to the conclusion that while we love each other very much, we will remain separate,” the uncoupled couple said, in a statement groaning with regal portent.
That carefully honed image of the perfect wife and mother, reigning supreme amid the bohemian opulence of the empire she created? It must never be tarnished.
For through her website, her two healthy-eating cookbooks and her endless proselytising, Gwyneth has cast herself as an authority on everything from interior design and skincare to holidays to relationships to fashion to making your own dairy-free banana icecream.
No one asked her to. She just did it, spending years telling everyone else how to live, what to wear, how to cook and what to think.
Now, the casual duplicity is laid bare. We understand that despite her protestations of endless paradise, her marriage was crumbling, her family life was falling apart and she was unhappy.
Do you know, I’ll never again read her deep thoughts on the mysteries of life and the universe (“I am inspired by the ability to demystify mindfulness”) with quite the same enthusiasm.
And what about the endless, teeth-gnashing, lifestyle boasts? Of cooking Vietnamese spiced sea bass on a driftwood fire on the beach outside her £4-million home in the Hamptons; of the bloom of perfect peonies in her London garden; of knowing how to please men when they are angry; of her friendships with Beyonce and Jay Z; of the hunt for the perfect cushion (by Peterazzi, £210); or of the night the musician Gavin Rossdale came over to rustle up his special brown rice pasta with fried capers.
And while her mission seemed to be only to change the planet and everything and everyone in it — dragging us all up to her level — she couldn’t get the most basic thing right. Her home life was a mess. A compromise with her husband of ten years could not be reached. Her marriage is over.
And while she continues to promulgate the notion that everything is groovy in the Garden of Gwyn, nothing could be further from the truth.
What is irritating is the endless message, pumped out every week through Goop, that she and her family lead successful, fulfilling existences that are a thousand times more interesting than your dreary toil through life.
Their houses are bigger and airier. Their holidays are better. Their children are unique and gifted, hot-housed in Mandarin by expensive tutors, unsullied by contaminants of any sort (“I would rather die than let my kid eat Cup-a-Soup.”)
Yet this week has proved it is only a glittering carapace of perfection. Inside the homes of their £25-million property portfolio, life is a mess, just like it is for everyone else. Why pretend to be different?
Martin and Paltrow always took pains to carve out a special identity for each other. They took great pains never to be photographed together, to an extent that seemed faintly ludicrous.
In her two cookbooks, Martin is the ghostly spectre never at the feast while her children gambol across photo-spreads.
BUT while there are many mentions of her American family, the Martins of Devon are a footnote. They like apples, apparently. “Sometimes a man needs a steak,” is the nearest she ever got to mentioning her husband.
In the meantime, Paltrow somehow made herself into the ultimate paragon of modern female perfection.
We all know about her two- hour daily workouts, her fasting and cleansing, her disciplined Saturday night treat of a solitary cigarette. She boasted that someone had told her she had the “butt of a 22-year-old stripper” and proved it by wearing a buttock-revealing frock to the premiere of her latest movie, Iron Man 3.
She has beamed the message that she is a finely tuned engine, running on a petrol formed of quinoa, almond milk, nut butter, gluten-free flour and hulled millet.
She is pure and perfect, inside and out — but news of her marriage breakdown has proved one thing. That the multi- mansioned millionairess, who swanked about her life of egg-white omelettes and privilege and love, is really human after all. - Daily Mail