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Gwyneth Paltrow's loving message to her ex Chris Martin is a lesson in break-up dignity

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Anna Brech
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Gwyneth Paltrow and her ex husband Chris Martin

Want to stay friends with your ex? Follow Gwyneth Paltrow’s lead

When Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin announced their decision to consciously uncouple in 2014, they vowed to remain close and “be a family” to their two children, Apple and Moses.

Five years later and it appears the former couple have stayed true to their word, with Paltrow penning a loving birthday message to her ex-husband on Instagram this weekend.

Sharing a rare photo of the pair together, Paltrow writes: “Happy Birthday CAJM. This is a special one. We love you so much. #42”. 

Their teen daughter, Apple, adds underneath: “Best parents on earth, I love u pops”.

The picture may have been taken at Martin’s birthday party in Malibu, which Paltrow attended alongside fellow guests Julia Roberts, Melanie Griffith and Sean Penn.

Martin’s birthday comes one day after that of Paltrow’s current husband, TV producer Brad Falchuk, whom she wed in a rustic Long Island ceremony last September. 

Paltrow marked the occasion with a smitten tribute, again on Instagram, describing Falchuck as “my rock” and “a true best friend”.

Many of us vow to stay friends with our exes, but it can be hard to stay true to that value in the ensuing messiness of everyday life.

Paltrow’s messages show that it is entirely possible to not only respect your former partner, but also express love for them - and your current partner - without the two sentiments coming into conflict. 

“I think we are better as friends than we are [married]. We are very close and supportive of one another,” the Oscar-winning actor said in a previous interview, looking back on her 10-year marriage to Martin.

“It hasn’t always been easy for us because you have good days and bad days as you do in life with anything, but I feel lucky because Chris has been willing to push himself for the sake of the kids and help me co-create this new family.”

The idea of staying friends with someone after a break-up is a “very pervasive phenomenon” but it’s not always successful, says US-based psychology researcher Rebecca Griffith, who has studied the topic via detailed interviews

Her work found that exes who stayed friends together the best did so through a combination of practical motivators (for example, where there are children involved) and a mutual desire to be civil to one another.

Lead image: Getty 

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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for stylist.co.uk. Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.