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'Conscious uncoupling'? Only hapless Gwyneth could break up like this

IT may sound strange, but I've always felt a little sorry for Gwyneth Paltrow.

I know I'm in the minority – many people actively dislike the woman, once named the most-hated Hollywood celebrity by Star Magazine.

Her acting has been panned, her cookbooks have been scorned and her holier-than-thou website, Goop.com, has been the butt of more jokes than the bum-revealing dress she wore to the Iron Man 3 premiere last year.

Just like poor Angelina Jolie, she seemingly can't do anything right.

Take the announcement of her split from husband Chris Martin of Coldplay.

These days, it's standard policy for celebrity couples to swear that they will remain "best friends" after they have divorced.

But true to her try-hard form, Gwyneth decided to take that concept to the next level.


In a statement entitled "Conscious Uncoupling", she said: "It is with hearts full of sadness that we have decided to separate. We have been working hard for well over a year, some of it together, some of it separated, to see what might have been possible between us, and we have come to the conclusion that while we love each other very much, we will remain separate."

It concluded: "We are, however, and always will be a family, and in many ways we are closer than we have ever been."

Astonishingly, there then followed tips from experts on the best ways to dissolve a marriage.

It was all rather unconventional and bizarre. But then, maybe we shouldn't be surprised by that.

After all, Goop.com was set up with the express intent of "nourishing the inner aspect", and the actress has always used it to espouse her personal philosophies.

Unfortunately for her, this is part of the problem with her public image. Instead of relating to her probably well-intentioned advice, many of us were baffled by it.

Perhaps she and Chris's pals Beyonce and Jay Z heed her earnest tips to go vegan or get a personal trainer to drop by the house on a Monday because it sets good exercise goals for the week. But the same cannot be said for those of us who are just struggling to keep our heads above water.

We resent Gwyneth's perceived goody-two-shoes preaching because it makes us feel inferior and hard done by.

How can she fail to grasp that choosing spring wardrobe "essentials" that cost the price of an average house is not helpful? Even when she dons her apron and tells us that she likes cooking pasta, just as we do, we're suspicious. Didn't she say last week she always tries to avoid carbs?

I still feel strangely sorry for her, though, even more so now. The "conscious uncoupling" line may be authentic or it may simply be an attempt at damage limitation but, superstar or no, divorcing is always a supremely painful exercise.

The hard truth of the matter is, no one divorces because they love their spouse to bits, and Gwyneth and Chris's relationship had reportedly been under strain for some time

To be fair, the couple couldn't very well openly admit it even if they did actually hate the sight of each other. They have their two children to protect.

But from the outside at least, things look amicable. The pair have reportedly been holidaying in the Bahamas together, and he has supposedly given her a painting of a bird in flight to mark the start of a new chapter.

It all sounds so civilised. But whether it's all just smoke and mirrors remains to be seen.

And that leaves arguably the most important question of all – who gets Beyonce and Jay Z?