Monday 17 December 2018

Get a grip, Gwyneth - and stop all the gloating

Her second wedding is tipping Gwynnie from good humour to boastfulness, writes Sarah Caden

Just imagine: Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Falchuk plus 400 of their closest friends.
Just imagine: Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Falchuk plus 400 of their closest friends.

Sarah Caden

Last week, it seemed that Gwyneth Paltrow's wedding had happened. It was a reasonable assumption to make, as 400 of the closest friends of Gwyneth and her TV producer fiance Brad Falchuk gathered at the LA Theatre to celebrate their love.

And that's exactly what Gwyneth tweet-thanked them for later, gathering to "celebrate our love", except she used a heart emoji rather than the word love, obviously, because that's just how cutesie her second nuptials are.

Though, as it turns out, last week's event wasn't even the wedding. That event will happen in the Hamptons in the summer, apparently. Last week was just a pre-wedding round of congratulations, yet another opportunity for Gwyneth to trumpet that she's getting married again. And she's happy. And it has really, really turned me off her.

I thought it could never happen. I thought that the Gwyneth-knockers were just jealous begrudgers, but lately I felt myself coming to join them. Then, last week, as she simpered on stage with Falchuk - yes, on stage - I suddenly reached peak Gwyneth.

I felt churlish. And bothered that I might just be another envious goop-knocker, but honestly, I just wanted to tell her to get a grip and act like a grown-up. Which might be a little bit green-eyed monster at her midlife flush of not hot sweats but new love, but at the same time, I feel genuinely betrayed by Gwyneth's recent skittishness.

Paltrow was, famously, married before to Coldplay frontman Chris Martin. She has two children with him, a daughter Apple (14) and a son Moses (12). Paltrow and Martin met shortly after the sudden death of her father Bruce, in 2002.

Paltrow has been honest about how that relationship was key in a difficult and vulnerable time of her life, but she has changed a lot since then. In 2014, the pair "consciously uncoupled", coining a phrase that has become a sort of joke, but which was meant to convey how they remained amicable and attached, yet no longer romantically a couple.

Certainly, they have kept it more than civil, regularly holidaying together with their two children and spending time as a family. Recently, Paltrow went so far as to post on her social media a snap of Martin and her fiance Falchuk at her breakfast table together. To be fair to both men, they looked mortified to be photographed.

A year after the uncoupling with Martin, Paltrow went public with her relationship with Falchuk, whom she had met on his TV hit, Glee.

Falchuk is the antithesis of Martin, who suddenly seemed terribly English and even a bit gauche by comparison. Falchuk is all blow-dried hair and big American teeth, and she's patently mad about him. We know this because she keeps telling us.

The sex talk on her lifestyle website, goop, has intensified in recent times. She has said that the second-wedding planning has made her feel like a 21-year-old. And in January, she told Stephen Colbert on his TV show that her relationship with Martin had evolved to a comfortable place: "He's like my brother. Very familial. It's nice. Great."

When the host said that was a bit weird, given they were married and had children, she said: "Which would explain the divorce… Just kidding."

Or not really. Because all the build-up to this big second wedding and all the online gushing about the planning and even the huge event last week points to the fact that Paltrow regards the Falchuk union as really much more exciting than her previous one.

Of course, good for her. After all, if my years of following the goop site have taught me anything, it's that life is not over when you are a mother in your mid-40s.

OK, so you have to wade through a lot of chat about sex dust, gold-plated vibrators and worshipping of NY mums who have time for meditation and a daily face mask before the school run, but essentially I've always found the fundamental message to be positive.

And there's generally a laugh to be had at the fact that she imagines anyone can afford the eye-poppingly expensive "what we're wearing" clothes recommendations. I've always chosen to believe that these were tongue-in-cheek tips, but lately I've started to wonder if, oh God, Paltrow's just another person showing off and rubbing our noses in her unattainable fabulousness.

It's no reward for my loyalty. Not to mention my purchase of her cook books, never mind the fact that I actually use them and have been known to get defensive on her behalf in the face of accusations that she's nothing more than a faddish clean eater. A lot of the recipes are easy, tasty and work a whole lot better than many professional cookbooks. But that's beside the point. Kind of.

I stuck with Paltrow after others reached peak smugness because I liked that she behaved like a grown-up in a lifestyle realm dominated by ninnies. Her site talks about menopause in a way that is not mournful, it explores the overwhelmedness of modern motherhood without being self-pitying. Everything goop comes with a gloss of wealth and privilege, obviously, but I never had the vibe that anyone was gloating until recently.

Last weekend, Paltrow had her hen weekend in Mexico. Stella McCartney was there. They all wore unflattering kaftans that can be bought on the goop site. There were private jets and a chef on site and photos on her social media of Paltrow in her bikini.

Paltrow said her girlfriends were as excited as she was about the wedding - really? - and how the whole thing made her feel less her true 45 years and more like a 21-year-old.

That was possibly what tipped me into peak Paltrow. Oh, grow up, I wanted to tell her and that was before I saw "GP loves BF" written like a movie title above the LA Theatre last week for their pre-wedding party. I cringed. And then cringed again at the picture posted with her tweet-thanks, of Falchuk making a speech while Gywneth, resplendent in purple, stood beside him, gazing and giggling at him like she'd won a prize. Oh, get a grip, woman.

There were speeches, apparently. There was an Oscar-night-worthy turnout of stars from Jennifer Aniston to Cameron Diaz to Reese Witherspoon. And Kate Hudson serenaded them, apparently. An Irish read of it would be that Paltrow and Falchuk think they're great.

And my 21st-Century self says that's fine and that she deserves it, but maybe the grown-up thing would be not to gloat about it.

Or maybe I'm now just another jealous goop-knocker.

Sunday Independent

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