Gwyneth Paltrow pens candid essay about turning 50 and owning her past mistakes

Gwyneth Paltrow has opened up about owning her past mistakes, embracing her aging body, and learning to set boundaries ahead of turning 50 this month. 

The Goop founder, whose milestone birthday is on September 27, penned a candid essay about her past and her hopes for her future that was published on her lifestyle website on Thursday. 

Paltrow reflected on the regrets and mistakes that still keep her up at night, saying that she hopes she has ‘learned from them all.’ 

‘I have hurt people, never intentionally, but I have done so just the same. I have let people down by not being who they needed me to be. I have betrayed myself to keep the peace,’ she wrote. 

Gwyneth Paltrow penned a candid essay about her past and her hopes for her future ahead of her 50th birthday on September 27

The Goop founder (pictured in 1996) reflected on the regrets and mistakes that still keep her up at night, saying that she prays she has 'learned from them all'

The Goop founder (pictured in 1996) reflected on the regrets and mistakes that still keep her up at night, saying that she prays she has ‘learned from them all’

‘I have crossed lines, the thoughts of which sometimes rip me from sleep and suspend me into the hollowness of shame for a long, dark night. Most regretfully, and so often, I have not spoken my truth to spare some perceived consequence, that hurting someone will tear us both apart.’

Paltrow admitted that she used to have a hard time standing up for herself and setting boundaries in both her personal life and career because she was afraid of upsetting people. 

She had appeared in a number of movies at a young age and won an Academy Award for her breakout performance in Shakespeare in Love in 1999.

The actress also had high-profile romances with actors Ben Affleck and Brad Pitt, whom she broke up with just a few months after they got engaged in 1996. 

‘My most lasting mistakes and the mess that comes with them have all stemmed from me not standing fully in my truth and speaking from it, come what may,’ she explained. 

Paltrow (pictured with then-boyfriend Brad Pitt in 1996) admitted that she has 'hurt people' and 'crossed lines'

Paltrow (pictured with then-boyfriend Brad Pitt in 1996) admitted that she has ‘hurt people’ and ‘crossed lines’ 

The actress (pictured with then-boyfriend Ben Affleck in 1999) noted that her 'most lasting mistakes' have stemmed from 'not standing fully in [her] truth'

The actress (pictured with then-boyfriend Ben Affleck in 1999) noted that her ‘most lasting mistakes’ have stemmed from ‘not standing fully in [her] truth’

Paltrow, who wrote about learning to set boundaries and call out inappropriate behavior, was instrumental in bringing down convicted sex offender Harvey Weinstein (pictured in 1999)

Paltrow, who wrote about learning to set boundaries and call out inappropriate behavior, was instrumental in bringing down convicted sex offender Harvey Weinstein (pictured in 1999)

‘Saying the words that could have spared seasons of heartache and repercussions. No. This does not feel right to me. Your expectations are not appropriate. Your behavior is not appropriate. This relationship is no longer right for me. This project is not right for me. You are no longer right for me.’

Paltrow noted that she isn’t sure if she would go back in time to correct her mistakes because they have taught her ‘meaningful’ lessons.  

‘If nothing else, they have led me to a path of questioning. Of seeking a better version of myself,’ she wrote. ‘People often ask, “If you could go back to your 21-year-old self and give her some advice…” Well, I would know my boundary and hold on to it more tightly than my life itself.’

The mother of two has given similar advice to her children Apple, 18, and Moses, 16, whom she shares with her ex-husband, Chris Martin. She has encouraged them to trust their instincts and make decisions based on how they feel, especially when it comes to love and sex. 

Paltrow was instrumental in bringing down convicted sex offender Harvey Weinstein, who had produced a number of her films, including Shakespeare in Love.  

Paltrow (pictured with her then-husband Chris Martin in 2014) noted that she isn't sure if she would go back in time to correct her mistakes because they've taught her 'meaningful' lessons

Paltrow (pictured with her then-husband Chris Martin in 2014) noted that she isn’t sure if she would go back in time to correct her mistakes because they’ve taught her ‘meaningful’ lessons

The mom said she'd advise her 21-year-old self to 'know [her] boundary and hold on to it more tightly than [her] life itself.' She's given similar advice to her children Apple, 18, and Moses, 16

The mom said she’d advise her 21-year-old self to ‘know [her] boundary and hold on to it more tightly than [her] life itself.’ She’s given similar advice to her children Apple, 18, and Moses, 16

The disgraced movie mogul was kicked out of the Academy in 2017 after he was accused of rape and sexual harassment by a slew of actresses.

The lifestyle guru shocked Hollywood when she joined the clamor of voices accusing him of abusing his power over women in the industry.

Paltrow alleged that Weinstein came on to her at the start of filming Emma in 1995, saying he summoned her to his hotel room, put his hands on her, and then asked her for a massage.

‘I had one really uncomfortable, weird experience; then he was never inappropriate with me again in that way,’ she told Variety in 2019. 

Paltrow had previously shared that Pitt, her then-boyfriend, had confronted Weinstein for sexually harassing her, saying he threw the Hollywood heavyweight against a wall and said: ‘If you ever make her feel uncomfortable again, I’ll kill you.’ 

The lifestyle guru also opened up about embracing her aging body, saying she 'accepts the marks and the loosening skin, the wrinkles'

The lifestyle guru also opened up about embracing her aging body, saying she ‘accepts the marks and the loosening skin, the wrinkles’

Paltrow shared photos of herself frolicking in her yard in a bikini ahead of her birthday

Paltrow shared photos of herself frolicking in her yard in a bikini ahead of her birthday 

'I do what I can to strive for good health and longevity, to stave off weakening muscles and receding bone,' she said

‘I do what I can to strive for good health and longevity, to stave off weakening muscles and receding bone,’ she said 

In 2020, she explained that she lost interest in her acting career at a young age after enduring an abusive working relationship with Weinstein, who is serving 23 years in prison after being convicted of felony sex crimes. 

The businesswoman, who now spends most of her days running her Goop brand, wrote in her 50th birthday essay that she wants to take more time for herself in the future and to continue to build on her relationship with her husband, Brad Falchuk

‘I would like to slow down. I would like to retreat a little bit. I would like to make my circle smaller. I would like to cook dinner more. I would like to see misunderstandings become understandings,’ she said. 

‘I would like to continue to open the deepest part of myself to my husband, even though it scares me. I would like to sing more, even if it’s just in the shower. I would like to tell anyone that had a negative experience with me that I am sorry. I would like to fully acknowledge myself.’

Paltrow admitted that she is ‘imperfect’ while sharing both her flaws and strengths. 

The cookbook author (pictured in 2011) shared that she wants to 'slow down,' 'retreat,' and 'cook dinner more' in the future

The cookbook author (pictured in 2011) shared that she wants to ‘slow down,’ ‘retreat,’ and ‘cook dinner more’ in the future

'I would like to continue to open the deepest part of myself to my husband [Brad Falchuk], even though it scares me,' she added

‘I would like to continue to open the deepest part of myself to my husband [Brad Falchuk], even though it scares me,’ she added

‘I can shut down and turn to ice, I have no patience, I swear at other drivers, I don’t close my closet doors, I lie when I don’t want to hurt feelings,’ she explained. ‘I am also generous and funny. I am smart and brave. I am a searcher, and I can bring you along on my quest for meaning. When I love you, you will feel it encompass you through time and space and till the end of the earth. I am all of it.’

With her 50th birthday less than a week away, she also discussed how she has come to terms with her aging body over the years.  

‘My body, a map of the evidence of all the days, is less timeless. A collection of marks and irregularities that dog-ear the chapters. Scarred from oven burns, a finger smashed in a window long ago, the birth of a child. Silver hair and fine lines. The sun has left her celestial fingerprints all over me, as if she soaked a brush in dark-taupe watercolor, flecking it over my skin,’ she wrote.

‘And while I do what I can to strive for good health and longevity, to stave off weakening muscles and receding bone, I have a mantra I insert into those reckless thoughts that try to derail me: I accept. I accept the marks and the loosening skin, the wrinkles. I accept my body and let go of the need to be perfect, look perfect, defy gravity, defy logic, defy humanity. I accept my humanity.’

Paltrow noted that she could remember both of her parents’ 50th birthdays, saying they were dramatically different celebrations. 

Paltrow recalled her parents' 50th birthdays, saying the milestone was a 'culmination of the wonderous' for her mother, Blythe Danner, and a 'culmination of sorrows' for her father, Bruce Paltrow (pictured together in 2002)

Paltrow recalled her parents’ 50th birthdays, saying the milestone was a ‘culmination of the wonderous’ for her mother, Blythe Danner, and a ‘culmination of sorrows’ for her father, Bruce Paltrow (pictured together in 2002)

Paltrow wondered if her children will remember her 50th birthday, saying she wants them to know they are 'the greatest accomplishment of [her] life'

Paltrow wondered if her children will remember her 50th birthday, saying she wants them to know they are ‘the greatest accomplishment of [her] life’

She recalled how her mom Blythe Danner’s 50th birthday was held at Michael’s restaurant in Los Angeles in February 1993, saying the ‘dinner was delicious’ and ‘the good wine flowed.’ 

‘Everyone was asked to contribute a poem instead of a typical gift,’ she explained. ‘I remember uproarious laughter, happy tears. I remember my mother full of life and joy at the convergence of the love on display, the deliciousness, and wonderful/heartfelt/brilliant/messy poems.’

Paltrow said the following November she and her younger brother, Jake Paltrow, traveled to the island of Nevis with their parents to celebrate their dad Bruce Paltrow’s birthday.

In addition to the ‘grey and unseasonably cool’ weather, she could tell her father was going through something, but she couldn’t figure out what. 

‘He said he was “fine,” but I found him swallowed by something — he felt bereft, unanchored in some way. It was unsettling,’ she said. ‘He could not embrace the milestone, this marking of the passage of time. Perhaps on some level he knew it would be his last decade.’

Paltrow’s father was 58 when he died from complications of oral cancer and pneumonia in October 2002. 

‘I am struck by how, for both of my parents, 50 seemed like a reckoning. For my mother, it was a culmination of the wonderous, the highs, the loves, the art. For my father, a culmination of sorrows,’ she noted. 

Paltrow’s memories of her own parents’ birthdays have made her wonder what her teenage daughter and son will take from her 50th birthday celebration. 

‘I think of my children, now old enough to remember this “big” birthday of mine into their own adulthoods,’ she said. ‘Perhaps their memory of it will be neither that I was solely elated, nor grieving the things I lost or did not bring to fruition. 

‘I hope that they can feel me feel all the things and hold in the complexity of that notion. That they know I am both good through and through, yet sometimes not. That my feelings of regret and my mistakes can act as scaffolding for what I build from now on. That they are the greatest accomplishment of my life.’

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