Sisterhood Blog

Has Gwyneth Paltrow Found Better Path to Splitsville?

By Elissa Strauss

  • Print
  • Share Share

I’m of two minds about Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s announcement that they are going through a “conscious uncoupling.”

Part of me cringes over the fact that Paltrow felt the need to process something as intimate as her separation in the life-perfecting GOOP mill. What she gave us is a sanitized, sunny, and even chic presentation of what is surely a raw, dark and messy experience. Her note, posted above a darling picture of the two of them sitting on the grass in formal wear, has a calm and collected tone, and refers to the hard work they put into the marriage and the peace they have discovered in their decision to separate.

This is followed by an essay about “conscious uncoupling” from East meets West doctors Habib Sadeghi and Sherry Sami who explain that we now live too long to fulfill the whole “until death do us apart” thing, and by accepting this we can change how we experience divorce and turn it into an opportunity for growth. As Slate’s Jessica Grose points out Paltrow’s “sun-dappled breakup announcement is just the same tired keeping up appearances that wives and mothers have long been expected to do,” and Paltrow even more so because she has to maintain a brand.

Another part of me, a bigger one, I think, really digs it. Paltrow and her doctor friends are trying to reposition how we view divorce, and strip it of the connotations of failure and tragedy that it has long contained. Sure, they do this by using the hippy dippy psychobabble that has become the spiritual vernacular of our time (there is a whole part about insects and intimacy, and how bad marriages turn us into insects through the inevitable development of emotional exoskeletons). But still, buried in there, is an important and radical idea: divorce is okay. It doesn’t have to be a source of shame, fury or vitriol, and instead can be something that happens between two mature adults who have outgrown one another as romantic partners but are still happily willing to remain bound as parents to children. Stranger things have happened.

Divorce isn’t easy. I know this because my parents had a not especially nasty but still difficult one that, like most, took way more money and time than it should have. Paltrow, trend-seeker, wellness guru, and style icon that she is, has come upon a new way to go about things, and she thinks it is better for us. Speaking from experience, I kinda agree.

For conscious uncouplers, the important thing is not whether or not a couple divorces, but how they do it. Paltrow’s offering up a process that can yield better, rather than broken, people on the other side. Considering how few models of good divorces there are out there, it certainly can’t hurt to throw this more positive one in the mix, even if it is trademarked GOOP.

I know many divorced couples who sought out a Jewish divorce, or “get,” even though they weren’t particularly observant and had no practical reasons to do so. I think they did this because they craved something more than the often messy and nasty legal process of separation, some rite that would allow them to feel a sense of closure and letting go in a spiritual setting. Like Paltrow, they are searching for a little bit of serenity and even redemption in their divorces, something that will give them the peace of mind to tell their kids that “everything will be okay” and really mean it.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: gwyneth patrow, divorce, chris martin

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.