Gwyneth Paltrow reflects on using ‘conscious uncoupling’ phrase during Chris Martin divorce

·2-min read

Gwyneth Paltrow has reflected on how her use of the phrase “conscious uncoupling” played into the “cultural shift” around divorces.

Paltrow detailed her divorce from Coldplay frontman Chris Martin in a 2014 blog post on Goop, her wellness website, titled “Conscious Uncoupling”.

In an Instagram Q&A with her fans on Friday (28 April), Paltrow said that while she “definitely did not coin the phrase”, she was proud that her and Martin were “able to, maybe, make some divorces a little bit easier, happier”.

In their statement at the time, Martin and Paltrow said: “We have always conducted our relationship privately, and we hope that as we consciously uncouple and co-parent, we will be able to continue in the same manner.”

Responding to the question about “conscious uncoupling” on Paltrow’s Instagram Stories, the actor said: “It makes me feel pretty proud when people come up to me on the streets and say, ‘Thank you for introducing that concept because I’ve become good friends with my ex’.

“I’m very happy that we were able to play a small part in that cultural shift.”

When Paltrow and Martin used the phrase, first coined by Katherine Woodward Thomas, it became a subject of online chatter and ridicule.

In an essay published in British Vogue on Paltrow’s 50th birthday last year, the actor admitted the term had sounded “a bit full of itself, painfully progressive and hard to swallow” when she first heard it.

Gwyneth Paltrow answers fan questions during an Instagram Q&A on Friday (28 April) (Instagram/@gwynethpaltro)
Gwyneth Paltrow answers fan questions during an Instagram Q&A on Friday (28 April) (Instagram/@gwynethpaltro)

“I was intrigued, less by the phrase, but by the sentiment. Was there a world where we could break up and not lose everything? Could we be a family, even though we were not a couple? We decided to try,” Paltrow wrote.

During a 2019 interview with Dax Shepard for his podcast Armchair Expert, the Academy Award winner explained why she and Martin decided to use the phrase in their statement.

She said: “It’s such a beautiful concept. You’re staring down the barrel of a divorce, the worst outcome possible. My parents were married until my dad died. All my best friends, all their parents were married, they all married their college or high school person, they’re still married. I just didn’t come from a world where there was a lot of divorce.”

By using the term “conscious uncoupling”, Paltrow added, the former couple were able to “circumvent” the pain and anger of divorce and focus on their children, Apple and Moses, instead.