Gwyneth Paltrow: When did you get so annoying?
Some things defy explanation.
For example, deep in the ocean where light never penetrates reside fish whose mating opportunities are so rare that the males must spend their lives stuck to their female counterpart’s face.
And that anything a duckling meets in the first 10 minutes of its life becomes its parent.
And that at the center of our universe sits an enormous black hole.
But the most unexplained of all?
That there was once upon a time when Gwyneth Paltrow was likeable.
I know this because recently I re-watched the 1995 film Emma, starring a 21-year-old Paltrow.
At the time, her star was rising and I can see why. Paltrow’s portrayal of Jane Austen’s heroine was perfect with her cultivated English accent carefully crafted to hide its American origins.
Her lithe frame was captivating in period era costumes. Her skin was luminescent and her blonde hair was beautifully braided and coiled neatly atop her head.
She was just as adorable and equally as captivating in Sliding Doors, Shakespeare in Love and The Talented Mr Ripley.
But soon after these movies she fell out of favor.
Sadly, these days Paltrow is more famous for pretentious, kooky and silly utterances — and a website called ‘Goop’ — than her previous life as an actress.
What went wrong?
During her early 20s Paltrow was engaged to Brad Pitt. He declared the actress to be the love of his life. In turn, Paltrow recently admitted that Pitt was ‘the one that got away.’
After splitting from Pitt she spent several years with on-again-off-again boyfriend Ben Affleck.
Soon after this she made her excruciatingly embarrassing Academy Award speech that made Sally Fields’ career damaging, ‘you like me, you really like me,’ much more palatable.
Then there was the divorce from Chris Martin, Cold Play’s lead singer, and their ‘conscious uncoupling’, whatever that means.
Paltrow’s mother, the delightful Blythe Danner, surely isn’t to blame for her daughter’s annoying personality; nor was her father, the director Bruce Paltrow.
Perhaps the Weinsteins were the culprits?
These infamous brothers are known in Hollywood circles as ball breakers. They adored Paltrow and cast her in nearly every movie they produced. But at some stage she annoyed them too and Nicole Kidman became their go-to actress instead.
Maybe Paltrow is just one of those unfortunate people who peaked in their early 20s and is now doomed, like a modern day Cassandra, to be shunned wherever she goes.
But I still find her decline as mystifying as the black hole at the center of our universe.
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About the author
Sue Bell is an entertainment writer and author of Backpacked: A mostly true story, Beat Street and When Dreamworks came to Stanley.