Ian Gavan; Toni Anne Barson, Getty Images
Conscious uncoupling isn’t always as blissful as it seems, according to Gwyneth Paltrow. The actor/Goop guru/poster child of amicable divorce appeared on the September 22nd episode of The Drew Barrymore Show to debunk some misconceptions we may have had about her relationship with her ex-husband, Chris Martin—specifically, how challenging it can be to co-parent their two children, 16-year-old Apple and 14-year-old Moses.
In the interview, Barrymore (who shares two children with her ex-husband, Will Kopelman) mentioned that one of the difficulties of divorce is the fear that parents will “get it wrong for our kids.” Paltrow agreed, according to Buzzfeed News, adding, “You’re ending a marriage, but you’re still in a family. That’s how it will be forever. [But] some days it’s not as good as it looks, you know? We also have good days and bad days.”
But key to overcoming co-parenting challenges, Paltrow says, is “driving toward the same purpose of unity and love and really what’s best for them.”
“We have this idea that just because we break up, we can't love the things about the person anymore that we loved, and that's not true.”
Earlier in the interview, Paltrow offered some advice (and hope) for people who are currently in the midst of divorce, either with or without children. “I think it can be done,” Paltrow said of an amicable divorce. “In a way my divorce, and my relationship with Chris now, is better than our marriage was.”
Paltrow and Martin divorced (or “consciously uncoupled”) in 2016, after 12 years of marriage. The two were able to navigate their divorce in part through the help of “a doctor who gave us a rubric for how to do it,” Paltrow told Barrymore.
“You have to have radical accountability,” she shared. “You have to know that every relationship is 50-50, no matter how you think you were wronged or how badly you perceive the other person, or whatever the case may be. If you are brave enough to take responsibility for your half and really look at your own garbage and your own trauma, and how it’s presenting in the world and in your relationship, then there’s really somewhere to go and something to learn and something to heal.”
“You are also holding the other person in this sphere of humanity. We are all part good and part bad. It's not binary—we are all gray area. We all are trying our best.”
But she and Martin were also clear that they would “put [their children] first,” despite how challenging it can be to overlook their own issues with each other.
“I really wanted my kids to not be traumatized, if it were possible. Chris and I committed to putting them first. That's harder than it looks because some days you really don't want to be with the person that you are getting divorced from. But if you're committed to having family dinner, then you do it."
She continued, "You take a deep breath and you look the person in the eye and you remember your pact and you smile and you hug and you make a joke, and you recommit to this new relationship that you are trying to foster."
Leave it to Gwyneth Paltrow to make it look easy to be compassionate toward your ex. We’ll have what she’s having.