Have any of Gwyneth Paltrow’s exes bought her vagina candle? The actress isn’t sure, but as she quipped to podcast host Alex Cooper during a wide-ranging, gossip-packed episode of Call Her Daddy, “That’s what it’s there for.”
But there was a lot more gossip where that came from during Wednesday’s wide-ranging episode, which covered Paltrow’s early career (and the “identity crisis” that followed her first Oscar win); her stacked dating roster, which includes Brad Pitt, Ben Affleck, and ex-husband Chris Martin; and Paltrow’s decision to speak out against disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein.
In other words: Come for the insightful thoughts about getting to know oneself through aging, and stay for the most intense round of “fuck, marry, kill” the world has ever seen. Sadly missing? Any mention of Paltrow’s recent and massively publicized ski trial, in which a jury found Paltrow was not at fault.
Looking back at winning her first Academy Award at the age of 26 for Shakespeare in Love, Paltrow recalled that she’d been “working through a lot of the harder parts of my growing up through achieving success.” Taking home the gold statuette, she said, “put me into a bit of an identity crisis. Because if you win the biggest prize, what are you supposed to do and where are you supposed to go?”
“The amount of attention that you receive on a night like that and the weeks following is so disorienting and, frankly, really unhealthy,” Paltrow added.
After taking home the award, Paltrow noticed a shift in how Hollywood and the media perceived and treated her. “I remember the British press being so horrible to me because I cried,” she said. Those outlets likely did not know at the time that her grandfather was dying of cancer, Paltrow said—or that her father, who’d attended the event with her, was also debilitated at the time from “all this crazy cancer treatment.”
“I cried, and people were so mean about it,” Paltrow recalled. “I just thought, ‘Wow, there’s this big energy shift that’s happening and I think I’m going to have to learn to be less open-hearted and much more protective of myself and filter people out better. It was like this big reckoning, in a way.”
Paltrow would eventually go on to help change the industry for the better; as Cooper pointed out, she was among the actresses who spoke out against Harvey Weinstein during the early days of #MeToo.
“It was scary,” Paltrow said, “because I had grown up watching the women who had spoken out be reviled, rejected, pilloried in the town square. I had never seen a model where a woman could speak out and there would be repercussions that were on the man and not on the woman.”
Part of what motivated Paltrow to speak out was the thought of her own daughter, Apple, and what kind of workplace she might one day enter.
“It was, like, the worst-kept secret—not that Harvey Weinstein was raping people but that he was crossing boundaries and trying stuff on,” she said. “We all kind of knew that was happening; my story had happened to 10 of my friends. But when I learned the full extent of what he had done… I just thought, ‘This has got to stop.’”
For each insight and serious moment in the episode, Cooper also made sure to dig into some gossip. For instance: Paltrow also reminisced on her romance with Brad Pitt.
The two met while working together on David Fincher’s Seven. Pitt, who was nine years Paltrow’s senior, proposed when she was 24; she eventually broke up with him, she said, because she didn’t feel ready. (Cooper did not ask Paltrow about the abuse allegations Angelina Jolie has made against Pitt, which he has denied; Paltrow described him amicably throughout.)
“In a lot of ways, I really didn’t start to come into myself until I was 40 years old,” Paltrow said. “I had such a pleasing issue—I didn’t really understand how to listen to my instincts and act from that place, what was right for me.”
When asked to choose between Pitt and Affleck, Paltrow did not wait for a category of comparison; she went “Brad” all the way. That said, Affleck did earn such distinctions as “more likely to make you laugh.” Paltrow even warmly recalled that the actor has a “mirror face that he would throw at the mirror,” likely as a joke.
Still, Paltrow seemed to struggle most when asked which of the two—Ben or Brad—is better in bed. “That’s really hard,” she said. “… Because Brad was like the sort of a major chemistry, love-of-your-life kind … and Ben was like, technically excellent.”
We’ll need Cooper to call up Jennifer Lopez next—both for fact-checking purposes and to unpack what “technically excellent” might mean.