Has golden girl Gwyneth finally lost her gloss?
The actress turned lifestyle guru is facing rumours over the state of her decade-long marriage to Chris Martin. Joe O'Shea reports
It is being billed as the Hollywood feud of this or any other year. And for Gwyneth Paltrow and Vanity Fair, the gloves are most certainly off.
The iconic magazine is planning what insiders are calling an "epic take-down" of the Oscar-winning actress who many, apparently, love to hate.
And while Paltrow has fought a spirited rear-guard action, going so far as to email hundreds of friends and colleagues to ask them not to co-operate with the magazine, the "scathing profile" will run in a forthcoming issue.
Rumours are already flying about the details of the cover-story, with growing speculation that it will feature damaging claims about Paltrow's decade-long marriage to Coldplay frontman Chris Martin.
A publicist for the 41-year-old actress has already had to deal with the first leaked details of the profile, focusing on her long-running friendship with billionaire businessman Jeff Soffer, who earlier this year married supermodel Elle Macpherson.
The exact nature of Paltrow and Soffer's relationship is rumoured to be one of the central themes of the piece.
And the Vanity Fair writers are also said to have dug up information about the 41-year-old Iron Man star's business interests, including her much-criticised and often derided online lifestyle publication Goop.
Despite her success and her apparently idyllic life (or perhaps because of it), Paltrow has become a favoured media punch-bag, an A-lister who has a major perception problem with the media and her apparently less-than-adoring public.
Popularly portrayed as smug, silly, self-satisfied and possessing zero self-awareness, the actress has acknowledged that some in the media seem to have a problem with her, saying she refuses "to engage with it".
The Paltrow haters had a field day earlier this year when it turned out that following the meal-plan laid out in her new cook book would cost the average person €225 a day (and endless hours of searching for exotic ingredients).
But whatever about Paltrow's image problems, this latest take-down of an A-list celebrity by the iconic magazine highlights the new, more combative approach being taken by the major media players in the celebrity biz.
Vanity Fair's Paltrow profile will be the magazine's third major assault on a modern movie icon since the start of the year.
Earlier this year, the 100-year-old publication caused shockwaves when it ran a very damaging profile of Tom Cruise, detailing the behind-the-scenes story of Cruise's divorce from Katie Holmes and his involvement in Scientology. Then Vanity Fair ran a series of stories about Brad Pitt's troubled sci-fi blockbuster World War Z.
"Some famous people believe that they live in a cone of celebrity that protects them," said Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, when asked about the Paltrow story. "But it doesn't really exist any more in LA, unless they stay in."
Editors of magazines such as Us and Vanity Fair realise that six pages of Gwyneth Paltrow looking gorgeous and talking about tofu are not exactly going to set the world on fire.
There is also the matter of an old-fashioned grudge-match. Vanity Fair apparently asked Paltrow to take part in a cover-story. The actress, said to be appalled by the hatchet-jobs done on Tom Cruise and her former fiancée Brad Pitt, said "No way".
She then emailed all her Hollywood friends telling them to "please decline" any invitation to speak to Vanity Fair. And there was a sting in the tail, when Paltrow signed off with; "Also, I recommend you all never do this magazine again."
And that's when, according to informed sources, Vanity Fair put Vanessa Grigoriadis onto the Paltrow story.
Hollywood and celebrity watchers around the world will be awaiting the outcome.