Harper's Bazaar March 2012

How Gwyneth Paltrow Became a Well-Being Guru

Harper's Bazaar March 2012Do the negative points in our lives truly make us stronger? For Gwyneth Paltrow, the tragic loss of her father has everything to do with who she is today.

Ever wonder how Gwyneth Paltrow got on such a steady health kick–why it’s so important to her to tout all of her favorite foods, recipes, workouts and more on her blog GOOP? For the 39-year-old mother of two, the motivation came from losing her own father. In 2002, at the age of just 58, famed TV producer Bruce Paltrow lost his battle with throat cancer–but not without his only daughter fighting hard to save him.

Paltrow opens up in the March issue of Harper’s Bazaar about how she found solace in trying to help her father beat the disease that ultimately took his life. She says, “It’s obviously ridiculous, but I didn’t want him to die and the doctors said he had to be healthier. So I started to read about how powerful the body can be if you do not poison it with processed food and white sugar.”

It’s her strong opinions on food (she’s a proponent of the macrobiotic diet) and wellness (she’s also an avid convert of the Tracy Anderson Method and yoga) that have sometimes garnered the Oscar winner negative backlash from the press. But none of that seems to matter much to her, as she remains passionate about sharing what she’s learned about well-being.

“All I’ve learned about health and nutrition came from [my father's] cancer,” says the actress. “I’ll probably have a long and healthy life because he didn’t.” Having watched as her father was robbed of a long life has only made his daughter yearn to live her own to the fullest. But she’s not living by traditional Hollywood standards, especially since setting up her family’s primary residence in London. And you’ll notice her career has quieted down a bit as of late, which is, of course, a calculated decision on the blond beauty’s part. It’s not because Hollywood hasn’t come calling.

She says simply, “I have little kids in school. I want to maintain my marriage [to Coldplay frontman Chris Martin] and my family, so I have to be here when he comes home … Gloria Steinem may string me up by my toes, but all I can do is my best, and I can do only what works for me and my family.”

That wisdom has come at a hefty price, which, once again, can be attributed to her father’s passing. Paltrow tells the magazine, “I would do anything to have him back, but half the reason that my life is good, has real, true value, is that he died … As much grief and pain and trauma and heartache are caused, there was an equal amount of positivity that came out of his death.”

How do you approach grief? Do you see it as an opportunity, a catalyst for change?