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By Kat Giantis
"This news should surprise no one," a particularly cynical source tells the New York Daily News. "They haven't been a couple for a number of years and have been pretending for the sake of the kids and each other's careers."
Others take a more sanguine approach, with the emphasis on how Paltrow, 41, and Martin, 37, attempted to salvage their union for children Apple, 9, and Moses, 7.
"They have worked really hard for a year or more, going to therapy, trying to make it work -- and she's been more honest than ever about how hard marriage is -- but they just decided it was best to not be together anymore as a couple," an insider explains to People.
"It's not a sad thing," another confidant assures E! News. "They're two grown-ups. They're best friends. Most important are the kids and they will continue to co-parent. They're in a great place. They tried, but know this is a better way for them to be. They still love each other, but they realize it's best not to be a couple anymore."
In their separation statement, the pair explained that they "have been working hard for well over a year, some of it together, some of it separated, to see what might have been possible between us, and we have come to the conclusion that while we love each other very much we will remain separate."
Chimes in a second E! source, "They both really believed in the sanctity of marriage and the role model it provided for their kids. Both of their parents were married their entire lives, and they really wanted the same for their kids. They stuck it out for a long time."
And despite reports blaming their demise on everything from the quashed Vanity Fair tell-all to geography (she wanted to settle in Los Angeles; he preferred his native London) to infidelity ( Paltrow finds the rumors "ridiculous," a spy scoffs to People. "And you know what? She doesn't care what people think. She really doesn't, she knows the truth."), the breakup wasn't dramatic.
"They grew apart," a pal tells E!. "They fell out of love. The one thing that kept them together was the kids. The kids mean the world to them. The love was lost. They realized that they were more friends and not lovers and they were at different stages of their careers."
"Going away together may seem unusual, but that's Gwyneth and Chris," a mole tells the London Daily Mail. "Foremost, they want the kids to see they mean business about remaining a family, and another ... they want to miss the fallout."
Adds the People source, "They are both prepared for the next few weeks and what people are going to say and they really don't care. It will pass; [Gwyneth] knows that. They are still a family. They will always be a family. Nothing will ever change that."
Meanwhile, the Mail also claims that the Coldplay frontman even gave the Oscar winner a painting depicting a bird of flight by Mila Fürstová, although the artist denies that he recently purchased any of her work.
"The fighting is over now," adds the Mail source. "There's no bitterness. … It might sound like a line that they're happier than they've ever been, but the relief is massive, they can enjoy being friends again now."
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