A remote cottage in the Tuscan countryside sounds like an idyllic place for a romantic getaway, but for Gwyneth Paltrow it was the setting where the cracks in her marriage became hard to ignore.
It was the end of summer and a celebration of her 38th birthday. The small cottage where she and then-husband Chris Martin were holidaying was cosy and romantic, on the edge of a forest. There were long walks and sleep-ins and plenty of Italian wine, but despite the picturesque location, Paltrow remembers knowing her marriage was over.
It was the beginning of what they would, years later, announce as their 'conscious uncoupling'.
Mamamia confessions: When I knew our relationship was over. Post continues below video.
"What I do remember is that it felt almost involuntary, like the ring of a bell that has sounded and cannot be undone," Paltrow wrote in an essay for British Vogue.
"The inadvertent release of a helium balloon into the sky. I tried to quell that knowing, to push it far down. I tried to convince myself it had been a fleeting thought, that marriage is complicated and ebbed and flowed. But I knew it. It was in my bones.
"At first, I was moderately successful at turning the volume down on that knowledge. It would be years until we said the words aloud. But, that weekend, a dam had cracked just enough to hear the unrelenting trickle of truth. And it grew louder until it was all I could hear."
Marriage and children.
In 2002, Paltrow, now 47, met Martin, 43, for the first time backstage at a Coldplay concert. It was just three weeks after her father Bruce's death from throat cancer, and Martin wrote Coldplay's hits 'Fix You' and 'Swallowed in the Sea' to comfort Paltrow during this time.
In an interview with Jonathan Ross, Paltrow said she couldn't listen to the latter without crying.
"I'm amazed [Martin] stuck with me, because I was a wreck," she said.