Love her or hate her, Gwyneth Paltrow is an industry heavyweight with major business savvy. Whether she's starring in hit movies and TV shows, publishing buzz-worthy alternative health, lifestyle and parenting advice or dating some of the hottest men in Tinseltown, Gwyneth is living her life on her terms. In honor of her 45th birthday on Sept. 27, 2017, Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at her biggest moments over the years. Keep reading to see her famous exes and find out which famous relative helped her become a Hollywood star as well as her biggest regret to date…
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Gwyneth Kate Paltrow (seen here in 2000 with her parents and younger brother) was born on Sept. 27, 1972, in Los Angeles and was the first child for actress Blythe Danner and her husband, director Bruce Paltrow. On the day before her third birthday, Gwyneth's parents welcomed a new addition, son Jake Paltrow. As a child, there was nothing Gwyneth wanted more than to be an actress like her mom. When she was 5, her dad let her appear in a small theater production at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts, sparking her love for the craft. In 1983, the Paltrows decided to pack up their life in L.A. and head to New York, where her father was from. While in the Big Apple, Gwyneth studied at the prestigious Spence School, an all-girls academy founded in 1892. By the time she was 16, Gwyneth had already lived more than most, spending a year abroad in Spain to learn Spanish and gain valuable life experience. At 17, she was back home and ready to realize her dream of becoming a star.
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Gwyneth Paltrow's first official on-screen role was in her father's 1989 TV movie "High" (which also happened to be Zach Braff's first project). From there, she landed a small part in the 1991 movie "Shout" starring John Travolta. Hungry for more work, Gwyneth turned to one of the most famous film directors in the industry, Steven Spielberg — who also happened to be her godfather. Wanting to give Gwyneth a chance, he cast her as young Wendy in the 1991 film "Hook" (seen here).
One of Gwyneth Paltrow's earliest role models was her own mother, Blythe Danner (seen here with Gwyneth in 1993). Watching her mom on-screen on shows like "St. Elsewhere" and in films like "The Prince of Tides" inspired Gwyneth's early love of acting. In 1992, she got the incredible opportunity to star as the daughter of her mother's character in the two-episode TV crime drama "Cruel Doubt."
One of Gwyneth Paltrow's earliest high-profile relationships was with Hollywood heartthrob Brad Pitt (seen here with Gwyneth in 1997). The couple met in 1994 while filming the psychological thriller "Seven" co-starring Morgan Freeman. They spent three years in a whirlwind romance that was dissected in nearly every celebrity magazine and gossip column, and they got engaged in 1996. However, in 1997, Brad and Gwyneth decided to call it quits, claiming neither could focus on their careers while maintaining their relationship. In 2015, Gwyneth told Howard Stern that Brad was "too good" for her and she didn't know what she was doing at the time.
With her list of movie credits quickly stacking up, Gwyneth Paltrow took on one of her first starring roles with the 1996 British period comedy "Emma," in which she played the mischievous title character. Gwyneth received rave reviews from critics for her performance, leading her to be cast in a slew of films in 1998, including "Sliding Doors" (seen here) and "Great Expectations." It was clear that by the end of '98, Gwyneth was quickly rising to the ranks of a major Hollywood star.
Following the successes of "Emma" and "Great Expectations," Gwyneth Paltrow was cast in one of the most pivotal roles of her career: Viola de Lesseps/Thomas Kent (seen here) in the 1998 film "Shakespeare in Love." The movie, co-starring Joseph Fiennes, allowed Gwyneth to show her incredible range on-screen and earned her wide critical acclaim, as well as an Oscar (more on that in a minute).
Learning from her very public relationship mistakes with Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow kept her romance with actor Ben Affleck (seen here in 1998) much more private. In fact, while some surmised the couple had met while filming "Shakespeare in Love" (in which Ben had a small part), the couple had actually begun dating in 1997 shortly after her breakup with Brad. Much to Gwyneth's disappointment, family and friends didn't like the fact that she was dating Ben — who was known at the time for getting himself into trouble. The couple were on-again, off-again and finally parted ways for good in 2000, shortly after they co-starred in the movie "Bounce." Gwyneth shared in 2015 that Ben "wasn't in a good place in his life" during their relationship.
Following a year of major movie successes and a new love interest, Gwyneth Paltrow's crowning moment in 1998 came when People magazine declared the young actress one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the world. By the close of the year, Gwyneth (seen here the same year at the New York premiere of "Shakespeare in Love") had achieved superstar status.
Perhaps one of the greatest moments in Gwyneth Paltrow's relatively young career was when her name was announced as the winner of the 1999 Oscar for best actress for her performance in the film "Shakespeare in Love" — beating out fellow nominees like Meryl Streep and Cate Blanchett. Clutching her award with pride, it was clear for anyone to see that Gwyneth had finally realized her dream of becoming a serious Hollywood star.
Gwyneth Paltrow's first major movie role after winning an Oscar was with two of the hottest actors of 1999 — Jude Law and Matt Damon — in "The Talented Mr. Ripley." The psychological thriller was a massive hit worldwide, with even the staunchest critics like Roger Ebert praising the film, calling it "insidious" and "intelligent" with "meticulous timing." While the movie led to an Oscar nomination for Jude and a Golden Globe nod for Matt, Gwyneth didn't earn any award acknowledgements for her performance.
After a slow movie year in 1999, Gwyneth Paltrow returned to the big screen in 2000 with the movie "Duets." Co-starring musician Huey Lewis, Gwyneth surprised fans when they learned she actually sang in the film — and sounded amazing. The pair recorded the Smokey Robinson song "Cruisin'" for the film's soundtrack, which later became a radio hit, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard adult contemporary chart. Now Gwyneth wasn't just a famous actress — she was a No. 1 recording star.
By 2001, Gwyneth Paltrow was ready to try something new. Enter Wes Anderson's dark indie comedy "The Royal Tenenbaums" co-starring Hollywood heavy hitters like Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller and Bill Murray. Gwyneth played Margot Tenenbaum (seen here), a chain-smoking hyper-depressive young adult carrying on a secret love affair with her adopted brother while married to a much older husband. The role proved Gwyneth wasn't going to settle for "pretty" parts that placed her as a romantic love interest and that she could masterfully play complex characters without being overshadowed by her legendary co-stars.
In keeping with her theme of trying new roles for 2001, Gwyneth Paltrow donned a fat suit for the Jack Black-led comedy "Shallow Hal." During filming, Gwyneth told W Magazine that she walked through the lobby of the Tribeca Grand hotel in New York City in the suit just to see people's reactions. She was shocked to find no one would make eye contact with her, which she claims was "so sad… so disturbing." The actress later got into a bit of hot water when she said, "The fat clothes they make…" before immediately correcting herself to say, "The clothes they make for women that are overweight are horrible."
In what's quite possibly the most romantic story ever, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow (seen here together in 2003) were actually rumored to be dating before they'd even met. Gwyneth told reporters how funny she thought the rumors were, but what was even more humorous was that Chris, a known jokester, made fun of it all by dedicating a song to Gwyneth (calling her his girlfriend) while performing in Los Angeles. Gwyneth decided to attend Coldplay's next concert and was asked by Chris's assistant to meet the rocker backstage. When they finally were introduced, they felt an immediate connection. The two became an item in 2002, turning the rumors into fact.
In October 2002, while in Italy to celebrate his daughter's 30th birthday, Gwyneth Paltrow's beloved father, Bruce Paltrow (seen here in 2001), died due to complications from pneumonia. The director had been quietly battling oral cancer before coming down with the respiratory infection that took his life. Gwyneth credits her father with being her rock and helping her stay true to herself, even when fame started getting to her head. During the height of her popularity in 1999 — when Gwyneth was really feeling herself — she says her dad told her, "You're getting a little weird. You're kind of an a–hole." Although his words shocked her, they also helped her realign herself and stay true to who she wanted to be, not what Hollywood told her she was.
Gwyneth Paltrow and mom Blythe Danner returned to the big screen together in the 2003 film "Sylvia," which was based on the traumatic life and death of poet and literary giant Sylvia Plath and her relationship with her husband, poet and author Ted Hughes. Gwyneth played Sylvia in the film and Blythe played Sylvia's mom, Aurelia Plath. The movie stirred controversy when Sylvia's daughter, Frieda Hughes, spoke out against its production, calling it "voyeuristic" concerning her mother's suicide. Frieda refused to collaborate on the film or allow any of her mother's poetry to be used in the movie.
In December 2003, after a little more than a year of dating, Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow announced that they were expecting their first child together. A few days later, the couple snuck away to Santa Barbara, California, to marry in a private ceremony without any friends or family present. In April 2004, Gwyneth gave birth to their first child, a baby girl they named Apple (seen here with her parents as they left the hospital in London). Gwyneth says she endured 70 hours of labor before Apple was born.
In 2004, Gwyneth Paltrow starred in just one movie, "Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow," which she filmed while pregnant. Her next movie post-motherhood wasn't until 2005 when she starred alongside legendary actor Anthony Hopkins in "Proof" directed by John Madden, who'd also directed her in her Academy Award-winning role in "Shakespeare in Love." Gwyneth claims the film, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination, was "reinvigorating" and reminded her of why she loved acting. However, she made it clear after the film's release that motherhood was still her No. 1 priority.
In 2006, Gwyneth Paltrow and husband Chris Martin added another member to their family with the birth of son Moses (seen here in his mom's arms with big sis Apple standing nearby in 2007). Due to Gwyneth's last lengthy labor, she opted to deliver Moses via Caesarean section. The typically private couple kept Moses away from the press for months after his birth. During that time, Gwyneth claims she also battled postpartum depression and that her struggles with the diagnosis kept her from wanting more children.
In 2008, Gwyneth Paltrow took on one of her most recognizable roles to date: Pepper Potts in the action-adventure film "Iron Man" starring Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man/Tony Stark. Pepper is Tony's sexy secretary who later becomes his love interest. The success of the film made it a franchise hit, bringing Gwyneth back to the role for both "Iron Man" sequels as well as the 2012 "Avengers" movie (and the upcoming "Avengers" sequels).
After starring in an action flick, Gwyneth Paltrow embarked on a totally new adventure when she joined chef Mario Batali (whom she considers a close, personal friend) on a trip to Spain for the PBS series "Spain… On the Road Again." The show was described as an "ultimate road trip" that explored the food and culture of the country. Recalling her year spent living abroad in Spain as a teen, Gwyneth surprised viewers with her perfect Spanish on the show. The series ran from 2008 to 2010 and gave Gwyneth a chance to indulge in her passion for local gourmet cuisine.
As if Gwyneth Paltrow (seen here at a Goop health event in 2017) wasn't busy enough in 2008, she also launched a weekly newsletter that year — Goop. While we now know Goop as Gwyneth's expansive lifestyle brand and website, it began as a way for her to share her favorite recipes, travel spots, parenting tips and more. Gwyneth says she started the newsletter from her own kitchen and before long, it grew in popularity so she knew she had to turn it into something more. Today, Goop hosts a curated shop of exclusive (and often pricey) products and healthy living content that at times readers find questionable (such as Gwyneth's 2015 experiment eating on a food stamp budget for a week, or her advice that women should steam their vaginas with mugwort). Still, Gwyneth's clearly doing something right as Goop had an estimated 1.8 million readers a month in 2017 alone.
Proving there's absolutely no role she can't own, Gwyneth Paltrow joined the cast of the hit TV musical series "Glee" as a recurring guest star in 2010. Playing Holly Holliday — an unorthodox substitute who wins over her students with her sass and unique approach to learning — Gwyneth won her first Primetime Emmy Award for best guest actress in 2011. She continued to guest star through 2014, leaving a year before the series ended.
In 2014, Gwyneth Paltrow announced on her Goop website that after 10 years of marriage to musician Chris Martin, the pair were divorcing, or as she put it, they would "consciously uncouple and co-parent." The choice of words became bigger news than the actual demise of their relationship. The former couple (seen here together in 2014 shortly before announcing their split) were committed to remaining close friends and parenting partners for their two children. In 2016, when their divorce was finalized, Gwyneth opened up in an interview to explain that her biggest regret was announcing the split on her website. Although she did later admit that the terminology she used was "dorky," she still stands by the statement.
A few months after announcing her separation from husband Chris Martin in 2014, Gwyneth Paltrow began dating TV writer, director and producer Brad Falchuk — one of the creators of the hit TV series "Glee," whom she'd met while guest starring on the show. The couple (seen here in 2016) stayed under the radar for close to a year before stepping out together at friend Robert Downey Jr.'s 50th birthday party in 2015. While they prefer to stay low-key, they occasionally break their silence to post sweet pics of each other on social media. In 2017, Brad shared a pic of Gwyneth on Instagram, calling her a "beauty."
As if Gwyneth Paltrow (seen here at a book signing event in 2016) wasn't already busy being an actress, entrepreneur, mom, daughter, girlfriend and healthy living guru, she added "published author" to her impressive list. In 2016, Gwyneth released her fourth cookbook, "It's All Easy: Delicious Weekday Recipes for the Super-Busy Home Cook." The book followed her 2013 New York Times best seller co-authored with Julia Turshen, "It's All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes that will Make You Look Good and Feel Great." Her other titles include the 2011 cookbook co-authored with pal Mario Batali, "My Father's Daughter: Delicious Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness," and "Notes from My Kitchen Table," which was also published in 2011.
To celebrate the launch of Goop's magazine, Gwyneth Paltrow crashed host James Corden's opening monologue on "The Late Late Show" on Sept. 11, 2017, as he went on a hilarious rant about the star and her questionable health practices. Allowing James to poke fun at her for the magazine's cover image, which showed Gwyneth slathered in mud (he called it "Poop" rather than "Goop"), Gwyneth used the late night talk show to not only get the word out about her newest endeavor but to prove that even she can laugh at herself. Next up for her Goop brand? A TV show.