London - Their marriage has teetered on the brink of collapse numerous times. But now, after rumours of affairs on both sides and many months spent apart, the somewhat mismatched union of Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow is finally over.
So why is it that, after nearly splitting numerous times - they were supposedly “done” in 2009, amid reports, all denied, of Chris cheating on Gwyneth with actress Kate Bosworth, and they are said to have gone so far as to get divorce papers drawn up during a particularly miserable period in August 2012 - they’ve now finally called time on their relationship?
It seems that Gwyneth’s rumoured infidelities - she has been accused of affairs, again all strongly denied, with lawyer Rick Yorn and millionaire Jeff Soffer, and was pictured kissing her handsome ex-boyfriend Donovan Leitch on the lips at a baseball game in September last year - drove her jealous husband to distraction.
Gwyneth’s friends say that she worked very hard at maintaining the marriage, and was willing to forgive his rumoured infidelity.
“Gwyneth tried her absolute hardest to stay married to Chris,” said one of her inner circle. “She tried to keep out of the spotlight for him, she did her best not to do all of the things which annoyed the hell out of him.”
She even sacrificed her close friendship with Madonna because the singer told her that Chris Martin had numerous shortcomings as a husband. She even advised Gwyneth that she should have a “perfect divorce” - a clean break with no legal wrangling - from Chris, as Madge claimed to have achieved with her ex, Guy Ritchie.
But in the end, despite Gwyneth’s diligent attempts to keep the union alive, it wasn’t enough. Her husband appears to have found her both “embarrassing” in public and needy in private. He was said to be emasculated by speculation that his wife had affairs. By all accounts the split was his idea.
He will now concentrate on a mentoring role on The Voice TV talent show in America, the release of a new Coldplay album in May, and a subsequent tour.
When that’s over, he’ll divide his time between London - he is very close to his recently divorced mother, Alison - and a new home in Malibu, where he can spend holidays with his children.
Gwyneth, 41, will lean hard on her enormous team of PAs and advisers while continuing her successful fitness business with personal trainer Tracy Anderson and rather less successful sideline as a lifestyle guru on her website Goop.
Her Hollywood career, though, seems to have waned because of her poor public image: she’s seen as insufferably smug.
It seems the couple decided to separate - or “consciously uncouple”, as Gwyneth would term it - during a series of heart-to-hearts on a beach holiday with their children, Apple, nine, and seven-year-old Moses in Hawaii this January.
They worked out when to make the announcement, with Gwyneth asking for it to be after the Hollywood awards season and Chris, 37, reasoning it should be before he starts The Voice at the end of this month.
In an attempt to salvage some dignity, Gwyneth suggested they should be on holiday together when they made it, hence their current break in the Bahamas.
“She really didn’t want to split and was fearful of the reaction as she knows that she is disliked intensely by some people,” said a friend. “She knew people would crow.”
“This allows it to look less like she has been cast aside by Chris. It’s a matter of hurt pride for her.”
So what were the problems in the marriage? Gwyneth’s reinvention from cool, Oscar-winning actress to a fad-promoting cookbook writer was certainly a part of it.
Chris - who, while a yoga-loving vegetarian, is more of a regular guy, happy to drink beer and smoke with his mates - was not a fan of his wife’s holier-than-thou persona.
“The dynamic between them in London was mother and son,” said the friend. “She would say ‘Did you work out today?’ and ask: ‘Why did you eat that?’ Chris chafed at it.”
The public backlash to her claims last year that she doesn’t give their children carbohydrates led to another spat, with Chris accusing her of being annoyingly snobbish about food.
A couple of days later, he was pictured giving Apple and Moses crisps and miniature chocolate eggs. Coincidence? Or a well-aimed snipe at a wife from whom he was becoming increasingly distant?
More seriously, there were rumours of affairs on both sides: Gwyneth with lawyer Rick Yorn and millionaire Jeff Soffer - now married to Elle Macpherson; Chris with Kate Bosworth. The alleged Yorn and Soffer flirtations were to have been addressed in the infamous Vanity Fair “take down” piece which never ran. Gwyneth instructed her friends to have nothing to do with the magazine and after nearly a year of rumours and denials, editor Graydon Carter felt that there wasn’t enough to print.
So what of the affair rumours? Soffer certainly entertained the actress at an event in Miami in 2011; indeed, he gave her a ride on his yacht. Yorn appears to have been nothing more than a social contact. Gwyneth’s publicist Steven Huvane furiously denied any impropriety.
Whether or not there was any truth in the rumours about Gwyneth’s alleged infidelities, they are said to have sent Chris Martin into a jealous fury.
Only two weeks ago he was asked about Yorn at a music festival where Coldplay were performing. He refused to reply, but his furious and shaken face spoke volumes.
Perhaps it’s no surprise that for the past year the couple have been discussing options for ending the marriage.
Their’s had been a shotgun marriage - her words, as she was three months pregnant with the couple’s daughter, Apple, at the time - in 2003 after a brief romance conducted in the aftermath of her father Bruce’s death the year before. That they were rarely seen together (“It doesn’t behove us to be a public couple,” Gwyneth would say grandly, although it was her rather chippy husband who apparently insisted on the privacy) only added to the buzz about marital discord.
There was, by common consensus, a serious rough patch in 2006, soon after Moses was born. Gwyneth had post-baby blues and admitted later: “I couldn’t connect to anyone. I felt like a zombie. I felt very detached.”
The speculation that all was not well reached its peak in 2009 when it was incorrectly reported that they were to divorce - and that Chris Martin had been seen looking cosy with actress Kate Bosworth at a U2 gig. Legal action was threatened against the US magazine which published the rumours. Gwyneth often talked about how difficult she found marriage. In 2008 she told diners at a charity event: “Nothing is as good as it looks.” Two years later, she told a magazine: “Sometimes it’s hard being with someone for a long time. We go through periods that aren’t all rosy.”
She certainly had a lot to put up with. Chris was a sulker, appearing rude and unsupportive at the launch of her book My Father’s Daughter in 2011 and sitting under a tree playing with his iPhone while his family enjoyed the rides at Legoland for Moses’s fifth birthday.
Even so, she didn’t quibble when he decided to put a bed in his studio so he could live there part-time and go to his own gym instead of working out with her, as she preferred. And she tolerated him refusing to move into the £6.6-million Los Angeles “dream home” that she had bought for the family in 2012 for a whole year.
But just as new split rumours began to surface last year, they suddenly upped sticks and moved to the US in August. It seems to have been so impulsive that Apple had been expected back at her private London school that September.
Some thought it might save the marriage, and Gwyneth even hinted that they might renew their vows on their tenth anniversary.
But Chris was miserable, hating the fierce media intrusion in LA, and couldn’t wait to bring Apple and Moses back to Britain at the end of the school year.
No matter how much Gwyneth hung on, hoping that the restorative power of a fresh start might work its magic, it wasn’t to be.
Consciously or otherwise, this odd yet compelling pair came uncoupled. - Daily Mail