Sunday 26 October 2014

Is Gwyneth Paltrow the Marmite of Hollywood?

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 07:  Gwyneth Paltrow attends Apple Store Soho Presents: Meet The Developer Gwyneth Paltrow - "Goop City Guides" at Apple Store Soho on May 7, 2013 in New York City.  (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
In one week, she's gone from being Hollywood's most-hated celebrity as voted by Star magazine) to the world's most beautiful woman.
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 06:  Gwyneth Paltrow attends the Costume Institute Gala for the "PUNK: Chaos to Couture" exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 6, 2013 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
Gwyneth Paltrow attends the Costume Institute Gala for the "PUNK: Chaos to Couture" this week.
Gwyneth with Matt Damon in The Talented Mr Ripley.

Love her? Hate her? The star has become the world's most divisive woman

There are no fewer than 135,000 websites devoted to obnoxious quotes by Gwyneth Paltrow. "I am who I am; I can't pretend to be somebody who makes $25,000 a year" is one line her critics love to loathe.

"I would rather die than let my kid eat Cup-a-Soup" is another.

And her most mocked words to date: "When I pass a flowering zucchini plant in a garden, my heart skips a beat." Whatever you say, Gwynnie.

Paltrow is the celebrity equivalent of Marmite. In one week, she's gone from being Hollywood's most-hated celebrity (as voted by Star magazine) to the world's most beautiful woman (according to US People magazine).

Her latest recipe book, It's All Good, essentially an ode to spinach, is still topping bestseller lists, despite being labelled "quack science" by reviewers.

Her lifestyle website, Goop.com, has been branded patronising, yet pulls in more than 150,000 weekly subscribers.

And her portrayal of Pepper Potts in the Iron Man movies, the third of which is out now, has previously been slated; but film critic Robbie Collin lauded her latest efforts: "Paltrow has not been this likeable in 10 years."

The 40-year-old American actress is Hollywood's most divisive celebrity.

From her furious fitness regime to her crackpot cookery, every aspect of Paltrow's life draws critics and admirers – often in equal measure.

The latest slew of publicity cemented her position alongside other loved/loathed famous females, such as Keira Knightley and the late Baroness Thatcher. So what is it about Gwynnie that divides public opinion?

Let's start with her less redeeming features. Paltrow, daughter of the late director Bruce and the glamorous Blythe Danner, would like us to believe she's just a busy London mother of two, juggling family life with a demanding job.

In reality, she and her husband, Coldplay front man Chris Martin, have a net worth of €105m. Their house, a €8.2m, 33-room mansion, is reportedly managed by an army of staff, including a "manny" (male nanny) to look after eight-year-old Apple and seven-year-old Moses.

If you can forgive her for giving them such ridiculous names (though it's unlikely they will), Paltrow also subjects her children to a monastic dairy-free, sugar-free diet and only allows them to watch television in French or Spanish. Cartoons are banned. None of which fits with her description of herself as "any other regular mum".

When she's not appearing in superhero films or ad campaigns for Estée Lauder, Paltrow runs her Goop website, where she doles out advice on everything from colonoscopies to quinoa.

In the same smug, preachy vein that runs throughout her latest cookery book, the site claims to be "your most trusted girlfriend on the web" – but is laughably out of touch with the real world, urging readers to spend €568 on studded iPad cases.

"Her Martha Stewart-like tendency to dispense advice with what some might perceive as a certain arrogant obliviousness doesn't help," says Robert Thompson, director of the Bleier Centre for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University in New York.

Irish Independent

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