Gwyneth Paltrow and Gabrielle Union Get Real About Motherhood, Mental Health and Weight Gain

Gwyneth Paltrow got personal during a live question-and-answer session at the kickoff of Goop’s virtual summit over the weekend.

Asked whether she’d ever felt “lost” in her life, she said: “Probably the biggest moment where I felt the most lost was after I had my daughter, and I realized I didn’t want to go back to doing movies with the same frequency that I had. And I almost felt like, ‘Who do I think I am to step away from a career that’s good and that people would kill for?’ And I didn’t know really what I wanted to do, and how I would spend my life and then would I become irrelevant, and if I wasn’t like a popular movie star, would anyone care about me, because I’d conflated my self-worth with that.”

The 48-year-old actress, mother of two and founder of the wellness and lifestyle company was joined by her assistant of 11 years, Kevin Keating.

“I had a hard time being pregnant,” Paltrow told the around 660 viewers who tuned in. “I mean, it’s obviously beyond worth it. But I was very nauseous and sick for both. And my babies were huge. So, it was kind of not that comfortable.…But I will never forget when Apple was born, and the feeling that I had of like a soulmate love connection, and it just became clear to me why I was on Earth. Like, I had been searching for all these reasons of ‘Why am I here and am I contributing anything, and does it matter?’ And then when I had her, it just all became clear. That’s something that you can’t know before you have a kid, and I’m actually glad I didn’t know that I had that before, because it’s one of life’s true beautiful surprises.”

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The digital event — themed around “reset” — includes classes and workshops with practitioners and teachers in health and wellness that are scheduled throughout the month. One of the talks is with Dr. Will Cole, author of “The Inflammation Spectrum: Find Your Food Triggers and Reset Your System,” which dives into the relationship between food and body inflammation.

“No holds barred, I gained 14 pounds, and my gut was a mess,” Paltrow revealed of life in quarantine. “But I just didn’t want to do anything about it really. I felt like my wine and my pasta and biscuits and crackers and cheese were getting me through.”

She reached out to Cole, who analyzed her blood tests and put her on a food program that she’s been on since Jan. 3.

“All I could think about was, ‘When can I have a cocktail again?’” said Paltrow. “And then I started to feel so good after about 60 days — which for most of you, it wouldn’t take that long, but I’m dealing with some inflammation and gut stuff — and now, I’m starting to feel so good that I’m like, yeah, I would drink if I could, maybe, but not seven days a week anymore. I don’t want to go back to that.”

The weekend also featured a pretaped interview with Paltrow and actress Gabrielle Union, who opened up about her own personal challenges. During the candid conversation, Union, who has shared her experience with sexual trauma in the past, spoke of her life during the pandemic and her journey with mental health.

“I’ve had so many different rock-bottom moments as an adult, starting with being raped at 19 at gunpoint at my job,” said Union, who’s also 48 and a mom. “It just felt like every so many years there was some major catastrophic event that was happening in my life — divorce, career setbacks, relationship issues. There’s always something that just lands you on your ass and you’re like, ‘There’s no way I can move on from this. There’s no way I’m going to recover. I’ll never be the same.’”

The women also discussed the impact of perimenopause, the body’s transition to menopause.

“The symptoms reached a fever pitch in September, and I thought I was losing my mind,” said Union. “I thought I had early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s.”

“Same,” added Paltrow.

“I gained 20 pounds overnight of water retention, inflammation, bizarre,” continued Union. “I couldn’t think.”

“The lack of the words is really terrifying.…How did you get through that? Do you feel better now?” Paltrow asked.

“It’s a work in progress,” said Union, who explained she was diagnosed in her 30s. The actress also shared her struggles with PTSD, depressive episodes and, more recently, suicidal thoughts.

“I was able to get through it with talk therapy and diving into how can I regulate my hormones,” Gabrielle said of the latter. “And luckily, I’m at home and surrounded by people, and I alerted everyone.…It takes time.”

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