Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow's relationship: Their private wedding, children and "conscious uncoupling"

21 June 2024, 14:46

Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin in 2014
Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin in 2014. Picture: Alamy

By Mayer Nissim

A relationship lived mainly out of the public eye that ended in a very public way.

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A massive rockstar hooking up with a super-famous actor is hardly the most unusual thing in the world, but the partnership between Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow was different from many high-profile relationships.

The Coldplay frontman and Shakespeare In Love star's bond was hardly a state secret, but they certainly kept their private life more private than other celebrities in similar positions.

Much of their life together was lived outside of the public eye.

Nevertheless, fans did occasionally get some insight now and then on the goings on in the lives of their favourites, and that was especially true when they broke up consciously uncoupled so publicly.

Below we take a look at the relationship between two major stars of the 2020s.

Gwyneth before Chris

Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Pitt at The Devil's Own premiere
Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Pitt at The Devil's Own premiere. Picture: Getty Images

Gwyneth Paltrow felt born for the big screen, being the daughter of filmmaker Bruce Paltrow (who directed 1982 movie A Little Sex and wrote and directed a number of TV shows in the 1980s and 1990s) and actor Blythe Danner (an Emmy and Tony-winning star whose numerous credits we couldn't even start to mention here).

Gwynnie herself started racking up appearances in the early 1990s – that's her as Young Wendy in Hook – and by the middle of the decade was fast becoming a superstar, with dazzling performances in Se7en, Sliding Doors and Great Expectations, before winning an Oscar for her leading role in Shakespeare In Love in 1999.

In her personal life, she had a run of incredibly high-profile partners before she met Chris.

She dated Brad Pitt from 1994 to 1997, the year she starred as his on-screen wife in Se7en. The couple even got engaged. before calling it off as she didn't feel she was ready.

"I was very upset for a long, long time about it," she later told 60 Minutes of the split.

Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow at the Armageddon premiere
Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow at the Armageddon premiere. Picture: Getty Images

"I just felt really bad about myself for a long, long time. But I'm so lucky that I spent time with Brad, somebody who was such a good person, especially when I was like such a mess."

She then dated Ben Affleck for a couple of years, and they even worked on Shakespeare in Love together. They broke up in January 1999, got back together a few months later, before splitting for good the following year. They've remained good friends since the split.

After Affleck, she revealed her hopes for a dream man.

"He's tall and thin, but muscular, to start with the superficial. A gentleman. Someone who's well educated, funny, witty, artistic, and has a lot of integrity. He doesn't have to grab all the attention in the room. A good kisser," she told Harper's Bazaar.

"I love men, even though they're lyin', cheatin' scumbags. I'm a very sexual person. I'm lucky if I get past six weeks. The make-or-break is six weeks."

Chris before Gwyneth

Warning Sign

Much less is known about Chris Martin's romantic life pre-Gwyneth, but it was reported that he had a relationship with a live events producer by the name of Lily Sobhani.

Their split inspired the song 'Warning Sign' from Coldplay's second album A Rush of Blood to the Head, with Martin revealing: "The track is about breaking up with my girlfriend. It was tough."

Of his future prospects, he added that he was shy and easily embarrassed, before throwing out a few names of his dream girl.

"At the moment I really, really fancy the actress Rachel Weisz," he said. "I'd like to take Rachel to fly a kite on Hampstead Heath. That would be cosy."

"It's really mad, fame. One paper even said I was going out with Natalie Imbruglia. Another said Gwyneth Paltrow - should I sue them? I was really pissed off with them because it's not true.

"The only person I've ever been pictured embracing in public was Mo Mowlam and I'm fine with that."


Where did Chris Martin meet Gwyneth Paltrow?

Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin out on the beach
Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin out on the beach. Picture: Getty Images

It's been claimed that Gwyneth and Chris met backstage at a Coldplay concert at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City on August 12, 2002, and that she gave him her number.

She then visited London to see the band at Wembley Arena, which would have been on October 21 or 22, where he is said to have dedicated a song to her.

Paltrow was in a somewhat emotional state of mind at that time, having lost her dad to cancer just three weeks earlier.

It turns out that getting closer to someone known for writing pretty powerful and emotional music was no bad thing, as Coldplay's 'Everything's Not Lost' from their first album Parachutes became an important song for Gwyneth.

Everything's Not Lost (Includes Hidden Track 'Life Is For Living')

"He wrote this song before I met him, and I think another reason it's sad for me is my father had just died when this album came out, and we used to listen to it kind of on repeat...especially this song at the end," Paltrow told Sirius XM.

"This album was kind of getting my brother and I through that death."

Having been chastened by the attention paid to her relationships with Pitt and Affleck, she wasn't going to let public intrusion ruin things for her.

"Are you really going to try and make me talk about it?" she told Diane Sawyer. "I don't want to talk about it!"

When did Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow get together?

Coldplay - Fix You (Official Video)

Chris and Gwyneth didn't publicly announce their relationship, but they were clearly smitten with one another quite early on, what with the gig-going and song dedications.

During that first year together, they kept things under wraps, but at the London Film Festival in November 2003, Chris went to the premiere of Paltrow's new film Sylvia.

His opinion? "It's the best movie I've ever seen."


And it was not long after they got together that Chris wrote one of his greatest songs, 'Fix You', to help Gwyneth process the loss of her father. The song was actually written on an old synthesiser Bruce had given his daughter.

When did Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow get married?

Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow spotted having a moment
Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow spotted having a moment. Picture: Alamy

There was no big engagement announcement. No deal with Hello! or People for the pictures.

On December 5, 2003, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin married in a private ceremony in Santa Barbara, California, with only their family and friends in attendance.

How many children do Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow have and when were they born?

Coldplay - Magic (Official Video)

Gwyneth and Chris actually announced that she was pregnant with their first child two days before their wedding.

Their daughter Apple was born in London in May 2004. The impending birth was celebrated by Chris and the Coldplay boys with a bit of studio tomfoolery.

Billed as The Nappies, they recorded an utterly filthy, stupid, silly, lovely, funked up hip-hop adjacent song called 'I Am Your Baby's Daddy'.

Coldplay - The Nappies

Sample lyric? "Your cups gone up from an A to D / Its bad for you but its fun for me..."

They had a second child, a son called Moses, two years later. His name was actually taken from a Coldplay song released on Live 2003, which he had written "falling in love with the most beautiful woman in the world".

When did Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin split up and what was "conscious uncoupling" all about?

Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin at LAX
Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin at LAX. Picture: Getty Images

As we've said, most of their relationship was kept away from the camera glare, but when Gwyneth and Chris announced their split it was very public.

By this point, Paltrow had shifted her attention somewhat away from acting and towards her burgeoning wellness empire, led by the much-mocked but arguably pioneering website Goop.

It was with a post on that website that Gwyneth announced the couple's split in March 2014.

Much has been made of the title and phrase "conscious uncoupling", which was actually coined by relationship therapist Katherine Woodward Thomas.

But it's also worth remembering that the blog itself was a 2,600 word academic paper "from the Editors of Goop", footnotes and all, that had been reviewed by Paltrow's doctor and Goop contributor Dr. Habib Sadeghi.

"Divorce is a traumatic and difficult decision for all parties involved—and there’s arguably no salve besides time to take that pain away," the post started.

"However, when the whole concept of marriage and divorce is reexamined, there’s actually something far more powerful—and positive—at play."

She added: "The media likes to throw around the statistic that 50% of all marriages end in divorce. It turns out that’s accurate: Many people are concerned about the divorce rate and see it as an important problem that needs to be fixed.

"But what if divorce itself isn’t the problem? What if it’s just a symptom of something deeper that needs our attention? The high divorce rate might actually be a calling to learn a new way of being in relationships."

Over the rest of the blog, the writers touched on the evolution of romantic relationships from "the upper Paleolithic period of human history" to the present day and much more besides.

It was a lot of Goop for people to handle.

Paltrow formally filed for divorce in April 2015 and it was finalised on July 14, 2016.

Years later, Paltrow said on Instagram: "I definitely did not coin the phrase, but I feel despite us taking quite a lot of s**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, happier.

"It makes me feel pretty proud when people come up to me on the streets and say, 'Thank you for introducing that concept because I've become good friends with my ex' I'm very happy that we were able to play a small part in that cultural shift."

And for all the mirth, they stuck to it, too, sharing pictures together long after the split.

Chris after Gwyneth

Madame Web star Dakota Johnson
Madame Web star Dakota Johnson. Picture: Alamy

For his part, Martin seemed to accept a share of responsibility for the split.

"Up to a certain point in my life I wasn’t completely vulnerable and it caused some problems," he said around the release of his band's Ghost Stories.

"If you don’t let love really in then you can’t really give it back."

Soon after his split from Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris was reported to have had a two-year relationship with The Tudors and Peaky Blinders star Annabelle Wallis.

He then hooked up with another actress, Dakota Johnson, and they currently live in Malibu, California together.

Still a fan of privacy, nothing formal was announced, and in 2018 Dakota said: I'm not going to talk about it. But I am very happy."

Gwyneth after Chris

Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Falchuk at the New York premiere of the The Politician
Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Falchuk at the New York premiere of the The Politician. Picture: Getty Images

Gwyneth also moved on from the split quite quickly, hooking up with producer Brad Falchuk, who she had previously met on the set of Glee four years earlier.

They were filmed out and about together the following year, and announced their engagement in January 2018, controlling the narrative with a cover feature in her own Goop magazine.

"Hot off the press, goop mag #2 🔥This issue of our quarterly mag aims to answer some pressing questions about sex and love ❤️Inside you'll find a candid conversation about making intimacy work with @estherperelofficial and GP, the intense and often fleeting energy behind a crush, and, let’s not forget, the big O," she said.

"Look for it on newsstands tomorrow, or tap the link in our bio to order it online. #gooponpaper#catsoutthebag 💍"

Despite the public engagement, they still married in a private ceremony in the Hamptons on Long Island, New York in September that year.