A term that may forever be associated with Gwyneth Paltrow’s name is “conscious uncoupling.” That’s not the Oscar winner’s biggest claim to fame, of course, but even nine years later, it’s hard to forget the rebrand she and now-ex-husband Chris Martin gave divorce when they announced their split in 2014. The public largely mocked their statement and even her mom, Blythe Danner, seemed a bit confused by it, but Paltrow seems to be at peace with it.
The Goop founder addressed the years-old “conscious uncoupling” hullabaloo during an Instagram stories Q&A on April 28. A fan wanted to know how she felt about “being credited for coining the phrase,” and she chose to answer. Before getting into it, she was quick to note that she did not coin the phrase. (The term actually came from psychotherapist and author Katherine Woodward Thomas, according to The New York Times.) Then she reflected on the positive impact their statement ended up having.
“Despite us taking quite a lot of sh*t for it when we first announced that all these years ago, I feel very proud that we were able to maybe make some divorces a little bit easier or happier,” she said in a video posted to her Instagram story.
Paltrow illustrated her point with an example. “It makes me feel pretty proud when people come up to me on the street and say, ‘Thank you for introducing that concept because, you know, I’ve become good friends with my ex, et cetera,’ she said. “So, very happy that … we were able to play a small part in that cultural shift.”
When Paltrow and Martin first announced their split, their statement appeared on the Goop website under the title “Conscious Uncoupling.” After explaining their decision to split, they added, “We have always conducted our relationship privately, and we hope that as we consciously uncouple, and coparent, we will be able to continue in the same manner.” That phrase was soon all over the internet and in the public’s mouths, to the point that Goop crashed amid all the traffic to the site.
Goop’s editors went on to add more context by updating the post. The new version reexamined the concept of marriage and divorce and explained that “conscious uncoupling is the ability to understand that every irritation and argument within a relationship was a signal to look inside ourselves and identify a negative internal object that needed healing.” The next year, Paltrow told Howard Stern she’d “made a mistake” by not offering context originally and conceded that “conscious uncoupling” was “a goofy term.” The key point remained that they wanted to end their marriage as gracefully as possible for themselves and especially for their two children.
The Politician star and her Coldplay ex seem to have pulled it off, and the mocking has waned substantially since its 2014 peak. That may be what has helped her outlook seemingly change in the time since. Paltrow will still probably always be known for bringing “conscious uncoupling” to the masses, but clearly if you ask her, that’s not a bad thing.