Why We 'Love To Hate' Gwyneth Paltrow — Real People Can't Relate To Her But We Also Can't Look Away

She is nothing like us but at least she's honest about it!

Gwyneth Paltrow Andvkt / Getty via CanvaPro, Featureflash Photo Agency, Tinseltown / Shutterstock

Gracing our screens since the 1990s, Gwyneth Paltrow’s acting career evolved from made for-tv movies to high-concept thrillers and romantic comedies to her Academy Award-winning role in "Shakespeare in Love" and most recently as Virginia “Pepper” Potts in the “Iron Man” films.

As the daughter of late producer-director Bruce Paltrow and actress Blythe Danner, Paltrow is certainly no stranger to the spotlight.


While Paltrow has shared her life over the years to build her personal brand as an actor, her career has shifted beyond her A-List position thanks to her cookbooks and lifestyle and wellness brand Goop. Launched in 2008, Goop has exploded into a full-on lifestyle phenomenon, boasting approximately 8 million subscribers to its newsletter, according to CEO Magazine.

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Undoubtedly, Goop has gotten a lot of traffic and fitting for her being a public figure; you cannot open any celebrity website or magazine without Paltrow’s image being splashed all over the place.


It's no secret that the lives of celebrities are quite different than that of the average Joe or Jane and they are often treated like gods and worshipped, with fans hanging on to their every word.  However, contrary to how the old adage goes, all publicity is not necessarily good publicity.

Over the years, Paltrow and (by extension) Goop have come under fire for plenty of eyebrow-raising claims and questionable content and comments, which have evoked such passionate reactions from the masses that an obvious divide is present, a love-to-hate situation.

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Gwyneth Paltrow has gone from a Hollywood darling to a polarizing champion of toxic wellness culture. 

Amid stories of Goop’s infamous $75 vagina-scented candles — and, according to Vox, a civil fine of $145,000 as a result of "unsubstantiated marketing claims" that jade vaginal eggs sold on the site could assist with various genital and hormonal issues — could one posture that Paltrow is merely out of touch with the average person that looks to her for inspiration?


On the front and center of Goop’s site is a section of curated items titled “A Peek Inside Gwyneth’s Cart.” The items listed (as are much of the wares throughout the website) are quite expensive and at first glance are marketed towards a more affluent demographic, including a $599 blanket with infrared capabilities and a pair of gold and diamond guitar pick-shaped earrings priced at $4400.

The overall list of items sold includes adult toys and skin and hair care products. Goop has never pretended to be anything other than a platform for beauty and wellness fanatics but even still the hefty price tag for many items is quite daunting.

The demographic the site is targeting are women of Paltrow’s age who, having crossed into their greying years, are largely excluded from mainstream beauty standards. There is a certain shift that happens for women of a certain age who are, all of a sudden, being marketed anti-aging, and youth-enhancing serums, creams, and mists. It can be a vulnerable age. Due to how society demonizes the natural process of aging, Goop’s customers are almost constantly facing pressure to spend big and cling to youth.

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Not only have the products sold by Goop come under scrutiny but so have Paltrow’s own words about her diet.

While being interviewed for the podcast “The Art of Being Well” hosted by Will Cole, who holds a doctorate in natural medicine, in March, Paltrow discussed her eating habits, which included an “intermittent fast,” bone broth for lunch and a paleo dinner, stating  “It’s really important for me to support my detox.”



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Aside from being mocked by many social media users, Paltrow’s advice also faced legitimate backlash from dieticians, such as Lauren Cadillac who called her diet “disordered.”




Paltrow defended herself via an Instagram story saying, “I’ve been working with Dr. Cole to really focus on foods that aren’t inflammatory.

“This is, you know, based on my medical results and extensive testing that I’ve done over time," Paltrow said.

Granted, celebrities inevitably face downright mean and cruel comments from the public, but the jabs at Paltrow kept coming later on in the month, as she appeared in court in Park City, Utah to respond to a lawsuit that alleged that she collided with Terry Sanderson while skiing back in 2016, causing him to have many medical issues as a result.


According to CNN, Sanderson sought more than $300,000 in damages after initially suing for $3.1 million. Paltrow countersued, claiming Sanderson crashed into her, and sought $1 in damages, as well as attorneys' fees.

As stated by The Independent, during her testimony, when questioned as to how she suffered as a result of the incident, Paltrow answered, "Well, I lost half a day of skiing."

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As one can imagine, that particular comment was met once again with sarcastic responses on social media, including “You lost half a day of skiing @GwynethPaltrow?! Oh, please tell that to people who have lost their homes from war or natural disasters. Or those who have lost loved ones. Cry me a freaking river.”


Paltrow would eventually win the lawsuit, a move that caused even more debate online.

But, in the world of “no publicity is bad publicity,” Paltrow remains the benefactor of our fixation. Whether it’s her talented acting career or divisive wellness products, she’s hard to look away from.

As with any celebrity, we as the public know they are selling a product: themselves. We see all the glitz and power stemming from a lifestyle and livelihood that the majority of us will never attain and many expect a certain level of behavior. As a result, we either love or detest them for it.


Paltrow, born into wealth and privilege, is not relatable to the average person. But, has she ever tried to be? Perhaps her brazen honesty about her exhaustive and expensive wellness routine, and her refusal to hide the realities of her day-to-day life is one of the most honest displays a Hollywood star could put on. 

I've never met Gwyneth Paltrow, but if I did, I think we'd have a spirited conversation about new-age spirituality and overall wellness, with a healthy debate as to whether her advice is viable and appropriate.

She has crafted a long and impressive screen career and has a very lucrative business, yet despite all the bumps and criticism, you cannot deny that her public profile is strong and will stay that way — whether you love her or not.

Yet, the court of public opinion will always pass judgment and sometimes it just isn’t pretty.  


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Katy Kostakis is a Boston-based freelance journalist and writer and specializing in lifestyle, arts & entertainment, health & wellness, beauty, food & dining, and culture.