Gwyneth Paltrow Recalls Being Called a ‘Witch’ and ‘Freak’ for Doing Yoga in the Early Aughts

Gwyneth Paltrow Recalls Being Called a ‘Witch’ and ‘Freak’ for Doing Yoga
Gwyneth Paltrow Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

As the face of this decade’s all-encompassing wellness movement, Gwyneth Paltrow has been called a lot of names. But the funniest wasn’t over her raving about a woo-woo procedure like vaginal steaming; rather, it was over something not so outlandish at all.

Recalling the 2008 founding of her health mecca, Goop, to WSJ. Magazine, Paltrow said, “That was the beginning of people thinking I was a crackpot. Like, ‘What do you mean food can affect your health, you f—ing psycho? I remember when I started doing yoga and people were like, ‘What is yoga? She’s a witch. She’s a freak.’”

Paltrow — who married Brad Falchuk in September, but admitted they don’t live together yet — also shared a more recent yoga anecdote with WSJ. “Forgive me if this comes out wrong,” she said, “but I went to do a yoga class in L.A. recently and the 22-year-old girl behind the counter was like, ‘Have you ever done yoga before? And literally I turned to my friend, and I was like, ‘You have this job because I’ve done yoga before.’”

In any case, the Avengers: Infinity War star is proud of Goop’s early adopter status — and she thinks it’s helped others. “We’re trailblazers. We’re going to write about s–t that people haven’t heard of,” Paltrow said in the story, published on Tuesday, December 4. She added, “I’m so happy to suffer those slings and arrows, because if you look at the culture from then to now, people are so curious. It’s so beautiful to see people feeling empowered by natural solutions or ancient modalities alongside science and medicine.”

Gwyneth Paltrow Recalls Being Called a ‘Witch’ and ‘Freak’ for Doing Yoga
Gwyneth Paltrow leaving the gym. Jack/Getty Images

Bringing health consciousness to a wider audience was her goal when she started the site, after all. Paltrow, 46, first began researching healthy living alternatives after her father, director Bruce Paltrow, was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1998 and died four years later when the actress was 30. “He’s the reason I got into this whole thing. I just remember the surgery was so brutal, and then I thought, Wow. What else can we do?” she revealed. “I was trying to take control of his life because he wouldn’t.”

But while she’s earnest in her mission of sharing health and lifestyle tips — like her nut milk smoothie recipe — Paltrow indicated she understands that people can interpret her advice the wrong way: “I think people take that as: ‘She thinks she is better than me.’”

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