The couple are now a picture of transatlantic domesticity. Paltrow used to live in New York’s West Village, around the corner from Sarah Jessica Parker and Liv Tyler, but the Sex and the City guided tours got “too much” for her. The couple have just bought a larger, quieter apartment in TriBeCa, and
and now they sort of whisper it to you.” If this country is indeed going through an emotional thaw of sorts, then she and Martin could be the perfect figurehead couple for this post-Diana Britain: what Patsy Kensit and Liam Gallagher were to the Nineties, only armed with macrobiotic diets and yoga mats.
“I would never pretend to know or to pretend to understand what it’s like for him in his situation,” says Paltrow of her husband’s recent success, which has vaulted Coldplay into the league of global supergroups and symptoms. “But I certainly have had some highs and lows on the world stage, so I have a certain insight into it. It’s been amazing to watch his success. It’s so deserved. It’s funny because he’s a person who finds it hard to accept success: he’s always in torment about that kind of thing. But it’s so nice that the focus is off of me. I love it. He’s the daddy. He works. I’m the mummy. I’m at home trying to look after everybody.”
She seems happy to put her own career on the backburner for a while. The experience of acting in Proof, on both stage and screen, was “so exhilarating – like being a little girl again watching my mother.
“It’s been amazing to watch Chris’ success. It’s so deserved. It’s funny because he finds it hard to accept success — he’s always in torment about that kind of thing. But it’s so nice that the focus is off me. I love it. He’s the daddy. He works. I’m the mummy. I’m at home “also moved into Kate Winslet’s old house in Belsize Park. They now divide their time equally between New York and London – “Although that will change when we have to pick where Apple goes to school.” Britain certainly seems to have offered Paltrow the perfect refuge – away from the cut and thrust of New York and even further away from the red-carpet and flashbulbs of LA. She loves reading the Sunday papers in bed and being able to pop into a local pub for a drink, afternoon walks by the Serpentine in Hyde Park, and weekends with Martin’s parents in the West Country. She also likes the fact that the cabs have space for prams in the back and, although she still gets into the car on the wrong side occasionally and drives like a true New Yorker (“I’m the world’s biggest honker, and I’m always swearing – thank God they know who it is!”), for the most part feels entirely at home here.
She has even made some headway into understanding the intricacies of the British stiff upper lip. “It was crazy how much people talked about me crying during the Oscars,” she laughs. “It was insane. In England you just don’t do that crying thing. I find it really interesting now I’m living here because I can see why, although I do think that it’s shifting a bit. Now, people are getting much more in touch with themselves; they go to therapy and admit it to their friends. Before, they wouldn’t admit it,
I remembered why I got into this in the first place. That’s when I said to myself, ‘From now on, you just have to do things that speak to you.’ I have definitely been reading [scripts and] things, but I also have real ambivalence about it all. I did 10 days on a film called Dealbreakers” – a 10-minute short directed by her friend Mary Wigmore – “and Apple was 10 months old at the time and it was really, really difficult for me. It was the first time I had not been the person to put her to sleep and give her her bath. I do want to work, but it’s difficult with film: it’s 18 hours a day. You’re not there when they wake up, and you’re not there when they go to sleep, and then you think, ‘I’m having compromised time with her.’ That isn’t that great. Eventually I’ll go back to work. When it’s right, I’ll know”.
With some progress made on the mini eclairs and ice cream, but not much headway on the crumble and mousse, we throw in the towel and head outside into the warm autumn sunshine. The next few days will be pretty hectic for Paltrow and Martin as he has a couple of concerts at Madison Square Garden. “I just try and keep us all together,” she says, as we say goodbye on the sidewalk. “It very difficult to sustain a relationship when you’re never together. But I haven’t had to make any sacrifices or anything.
This is where I want to be.”