Gwyneth Paltrow has remained the best of friends with estranged husband Chris Martin, but that doesn't mean thoughts of reconciliation haven't crossed her mind. The Mortdecai actress opened up about the pair's relationship and how they've grown since announcing their "conscious uncoupling" in the January 2015 issue of Harper's Bazaar UK.
"It's painful, it's difficult, it might be easier to say, 'I never want to see you again,' but what good does that do anyone?" Paltrow, 42, told the mag. "We've made a lot of mistakes, and we've had good days and bad days, but I have to say, I'm proud of us for working through so much stuff together – and not blaming and shaming."
"Of course, there are times when I think it would have been better if we had stayed married, which is always what your children want," she continued. "But we have been able to solidify this friendship, so that we're really close."
Close in proximity, too. Paltrow and the Coldplay frontman, 37, have become L.A. neighbors since splitting in March, with Martin moving across the street. The exes have been photographed dining out together, and have stayed with tradition by celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas with their daughter Apple, 10, and son Moses, 8.
"There's a deep comfort about it because it's so familiar," Paltrow told Harper's Bazaar U.K. of her home. "The other day I was lying on the grass and the kids were playing and I was looking at the blue sky and the palm-trees – and there was something about the weather and the smell and I was, like, eight years old again. I had such a strong memory of being a kid here – it's a really nice place to be a little kid, and it's great to watch my children have that experience."
Paltrow describes her separation with Martin as "always a moving, amorphous thing," but a relationship that ultimately happened "very fast." The two met soon after Paltrow's famous dad, producer-director Bruce Paltrow, died at 58 in October 2002. (Paltrow's mom is actress Blythe Danner.) Martin supported Paltrow through the difficult time, simultaneously sweeping her off her feet.
"Men are very young at that age, and I was relying on him very heavily and I really expected him to keep being this grown man and pillar of strength — which he was and is — but it's also quite an unfair set of criteria to give to someone who's just 25 years old," she told the mag.
"I feel like I would have died somehow if I hadn't met him at that time. I felt like I was going to die of grief. I remember waking up, on one particular night, where I felt like I was having a heart attack and I couldn't breathe," Paltrow continued. "I lay on the floor of my apartment in London and I thought, 'I'm not going to survive this.' And he just picked me up and he was so loving and patient through all my grieving. He's really great in a crisis. He has incredible empathy when it comes to somebody's pain."
Paltrow cited current examples of Martin's compassion, which included visiting a friend's child who just had a brain tumor removed and another friend's son who had a bad head injury. "Every night Chris was at the hospital sitting with the parents," Paltrow explained. "He just has an extraordinary capacity in that way."
The Oscar winner has kept busy since the amicable breakup, focusing on her Goop lifestyle site and acting career — something her famous father didn't help her with. "I grew up with the benefit of a great education and a beautiful house, but my father always said, 'The day you leave, that's it. You're not getting anything,' and he stuck to it," she recalled. "He was so hardcore about me making my own way…I've earned everything myself, and I've never taken any money from anyone — my father really pounded that into me, so I got the message."
She also has heard her critics loud and clear. Back in May, the Avengers star received severe backlash after she said in an interview that raising a family in Hollywood was harder than for moms with a 9-5 job. She also has been in a war of words with Martha Stewart for over a year now. Find out Paltrow's response to Stewart's insults here.
"Women really need to examine why they're so vitriolic to other women; why they want to twist words, why they want to read about someone else in a negative light and why that feels good to them," Paltrow said. "But I also know a huge tribe of women who are loving and supportive of other women, in ways that are completely transformative."
"I think we are a generation of women who are different in a lot of respects, and some of us want to be ambitious, and for it not to be a dirty word. We want to be feminine and soft, we want to be maternal, we want to be sexual, we want to be explorers – and we can be a combination of all of these archetypes," she added. "You can be powerful, but you can also be vulnerable…[I have] learnt the power of kindness and the importance of non-judgemental ways of looking at others."
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!