Gwyneth Paltrow does nothing by accident. A couple of weeks ago, when she gave a controversial quote about infidelity (she said that she wouldn’t end her marriage because of it) to a fashion website, I knew something was up.
[Disclaimer: yes I know it is pitifully sad that I would devote thinking time to Gwyneth Paltrow’s media strategy but what can I say: I’m pathetic and ashamed.]
Gwyneth has been famous her whole life. She comes from a famous family, she has famous god-parents, famous best friends, her ex-boyfriends are famous and so is her husband.
Gwyneth does fame extremely well. Better than anyone, I reckon. Having been burnt by the media interest in her previous high-profile relationships, she speaks openly of the decision she and her Coldplay husband Chris Martin made when they got together to simply not become a Celebrity Couple.
They go to great lengths never to be photographed together: in public or private. Gwyneth does her movies, runs her lifestyle brand GOOP, writes her cookbooks, runs her e-commerce business, raises her kids privately and does it all on her terms, handing out edited glimpses on social media.
Vanity Fair has begun work on an unauthorised profile of Gwyneth Paltrow which she has instructed her friends not to take part in. Fair enough. She’s not taking part in the story herself so why would she want her friends to talk to the journalist who is writing it.
But then yesterday, a story broke that Gwyneth is rumoured to have had an affair back in 2005 with the billionaire who is now married to Elle Macpherson. Ahhhhhh. Stories like this – particularly when they involve litigious billionaires and celebrities – are usually around for a while before they surface. I’m not saying it’s true. What would I know.
But suddenly, Gwyneth’s odd comment about fidelity made sense: a pre-emptive strike.
My informed guess is that her people had been warned the rumour was out there and – true or false – she wanted to lay the ground with some context via a controlled comment.
Clearly, she is rattled by this Vanity Fair story and what it will reveal. But why? Why would it be different to any of the thousands of other magazine profiles that you’ve seen (and maybe read) of Gwyneth for decades?
Here’s something you probably didn’t know about how magazines work.
There are two types of magazines: glossy ones and gossip ones. When it comes to the way they cover celebrities, the gossip ones go rogue. They use unauthorised images, usually taken without the celebrity’s permission or even knowledge. They often don’t speak to the celebrities themselves when putting together gossip stories, rather relying on ‘unamed sources’.