Carter Smith / Elle 1 / 5
Carter Smith / Elle 1 / 5

By Rebecca Silverstein

When you think about Hollywood's leading ladies, you'd be crazy if Gwyneth Paltrow wasn't one of the first women to pop into your mind: She's second-generation Hollywood royalty, an Oscar winner and indisputably one of the most beautiful people on the planet. Elle magazine thought so too, which is why they included her in their Women of Hollywood issue. Keep reading for snippets from her interview, and don't forget to pick up the November issue of Elle.

Have you ever had a casting-couch experience?

GP: Yup. When I was just starting out, someone suggested that we finish a meeting in the bedroom. I left. I was pretty shocked. I could see how someone who didn't know better might worry, "My career will be ruined if I don't give this guy [oral sex]!"

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How do you feel about the kinds of roles available to women today?

GP: Kind of dejected. There's a lot that's OK, but there's little that's really good, especially for someone my age. Sometimes you find out that something you really liked is going to someone 10 years younger. I find it heartening that Meryl Streep and Sandra Bullock have been able to find and create amazing projects.

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How do you balance work and motherhood?

GP: It's really hard. One night in Nashville, my son was screaming with a terrible stomachache. I was like, "I have to get out of here!" but we had to finish. My friend Jenno, a mother of three who was producing, was great, reminding me that nine times out of 10, they just have gas.

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