Gwyneth Paltrow on Men, Movies, and Consciously-Uncoupling

The A-list actress came in to the Stern Show for the first time and was refreshingly open and honest with the King of All Media

The Stern Show has welcomed many A-list guests, but today Howard sat down with A-plus-plus-plus list superstar Gwyneth Paltrow.

You might think that a star of Gwyneth's stature would be reserved in an interview with Howard, but not only was Gwyneth open, she was also really funny.

Here are the highlights from Howard's interview with Gwyneth Paltrow:


The first movie Gwyneth was offered was the smash hit classic "Cool As Ice" starring none other than Vanilla Ice. It appeared that Gwyneth considered it for about one page. Her late father, the great Bruce Paltrow, read the script to the part where his daughter gave Vanilla Ice her phone number—it ended in "6969"—and he expressly forbade her from doing it.

Fortunately, Gwyneth's career did not suffer too badly. She got a small one-line role as young Wendy in her godfather Steven Spielberg's movie "Hook" and she played a Texan grifter in the movie "Flesh and Bone." "I worshipped Meg Ryan," Gwyneth said of her co-star. "I was so nervous around her I couldn't breathe."

Her breakout role came as Brad Pitt's wife in the movie "Se7en." The two of them fell in love (and there's plenty more on that in a minute).

Her defining movie, as you undoubtedly know, was "Shakespeare in Love" for which she won the Best Actress Oscar in 1998 (even beating out Meryl Streep). Howard asked her about the long-standing rumor that she saw the script at Winona Ryder's house and convinced the producer to cast her instead of Winona. It was totally untrue, she revealed.

Howard also loved Gwyneth's role as the fat girl whom Jack Black sees as smoking hot girl in the 2001 comedy "Shallow Hal." It's a role that Gwyneth loves too and had a blast making the comedy.

And of course you can't not ask about Gwyneth's role as Pepper Potts in the enormous hit "Iron Man" franchise. Gwyneth initially wasn't interested in working when the first Iron Man came around—she was in full mother mode—but Robert Downey Jr. convinced her, going as far as saying if she didn't work again soon, she'd be out of the business.

It's a good thing she said because she really loved playing the part and working with Robert, even though she said the entire first movie was basically improvised.


Gwyneth turned down the Heather Graham role in "Boogie Nights" and was a final contender for the role of Kate Winslet role in "Titanic."

It was rumored that she passed on Cameron Diaz's part in "Gangs of New York," but she told Howard she didn't remember turning that one down.


Gwyneth has had some high-profile romances with men who are just as famous as she is (which is an exclusive club).

She dated Brad Pitt in her early twenties; they met and fell for each other on the set of "Se7en,"

"I definitely fell in love with him," Gwyneth said. "He was Brad Pitt!"

Her parents loved him and they were together for years, eventually getting engaged. They eventually broke up: "I was such a kid, I mean I was twenty-two," Gwyneth said. "It's taken me until forty to get my head out of my ass." Bruce Paltrow was possibly even more upset than Gwyneth about losing Brad.

Gwyneth's bottom line: "He was too good for me."

Then, of course, there's the man that became her husband, Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin. Gwyneth started listening to Coldplay while she was grieving the loss of her father, who passed away in 2002. A friend suggested they take in the local Coldplay concert to try to lift Gwyneth out of her funk and she agreed to go. She met Chris and was attracted to him but had reservations: "I can't fall in love with a twenty-five year old rock star."

But fall in love they did. They married and had two children before announcing their separation last year. They're still friends and still a family unit—an idea you might know as "conscious uncoupling."


To announce her split from Chris Martin, Gwyneth borrowed the phrase "Conscious Uncoupling" from a relationship therapist and it was widely misunderstood and teased. She explained it as simply splitting up without any acrimony. Gwyneth admitted that it is a goofy term.

"I made a mistake," she said about using it in her statement. "I didn't give it context. But it is a goofy term."

Another thought Gwyneth had on relationships: Chelsea Handler once revealed that Gwyneth advised her to give her man a blow job in the middle of an argument. "It's a good thing energetically to do," Gwyneth told Howard.

Now Gwyneth stars in the new action comedy "Mortdecai" with Johnny Depp who she always wanted to work with. He's a dream co-star, but he does have one odd quirk: he uses a tiny earpiece to actually listen to music while he's filming scenes. For "Mortdecai," he chose jazz and big band stuff.

Unfortunately, the love-fest had to end at some point. "I avoided you for twenty years," Gwyneth told Howard. "I was scared of you. I started listening to you when I was in eighth grade; all the boys at [Gwyneth's school] St. David's were obsessed and they turned us on. I listened to you for years when I was a kid."

"I'll come back," she promised. "I will."

Check out the movie "Mortdecai" this weekend and see if you can spot the earpiece!