Conscious Uncoupling—A Real-Life Guide

Yesterday, Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle site, goop, went down in a fiery hell storm after she posted news of her separation from husband, Coldplay singer and future judge on The Voice, Chris Martin. Paltrow wrote a heartfelt letter to fans stating, “We have always conducted our relationship privately, and we hope that as we consciously uncouple and co-parent, we will be able to continue in the same manner.”
And, just like that, Gwyneth Paltrow turned the end of her marriage into a very on-brand concept. But, what does it all mean? Allow us to explain.
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Is Gwyneth Paltrow unconscious?
Nope. She's conscious. She is just consciously uncoupling.
What does she mean by that?
It means separation but with friendly connotations. It also means that now the only things Paltrow and Martin will share is a love for their children and an aversion to their marriage. (It's also worth mentioning there is a five-month recovery program of the same name, written by Katherine Woodward Thomas. Her version and Paltrow's do not appear to be connected.)
Then why not just say that? What gives with the new terminology?
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Gwyneth Paltrow, the person, and Gwyneth Paltrow, the brand, are one. They are wedded by flaxen hair and an absence of gluten, and where one goes the other follows. Gwyneth Paltrow is not just a vegan; she's a macrobioticist. Gwyneth Paltrow is not a best friend; she’s Beyoncé's best friend. Gwyneth Paltrow does not simply divorce; she consciously uncouples. Separation or divorce is for your aunt who loves sharing pictures of a dog cuddling a kitten on Facebook; it’s for your parents or friends or someone with a good quaaludes prescription. But, a plain, old, beige divorce is just not what Gwyneth Paltrow is all about.
But…why?
At this point, Paltrow has successfully converted herself from a mere actress into a new-agey, farm-to-table advocating, easy-breezy, bonafide lifestyle guru. Every facet of her life has been carefully cultivated to present her this way. The divorce is just another way to take something from her life and turn it into a part of her brand. By taking something terribly painful, dressing it up in a flowy tunic and Kabbalah bracelet, and calling it “consciously separating,” Gwyneth is able to turn the separation into something manageable and more controlled. A little more Gwyn. Is it patently ridiculous? Sure. But, so is everything about Gwyneth Paltrow (have you ever seen the woman dance?). It's also empowering. Where other people might bow their heads and quietly admit they're getting a divorce, Gwyneth's chilling blue eyes will lock with yours as she says, "A divorce? Oh, that's nice. Me? I'm getting consciously uncoupled."
Is she the first one to have CU'd?
Not even close. But, other than this Katherine Woodward Thomas, Paltrow does appear to be one of the first to use the phrase. But, their separation is just the most recent in a long line of amicable separations. See who else consciously uncoupled and just didn't know it yet.
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Photo: Harry Myers/REX USA.
The "Artiste" Breakup

Carrie Fisher and Paul Simon were married from August 1983 to July 1984, and dated again after their divorce. Fisher was Simon's muse; “Allergies,” “She Moves On,” and “Graceland" were all written for her, and "Hearts and Bones" written about their relationship. Though Fisher was quoted on Letterman saying it's "trippy" to "turn on the radio and hear yourself complained about in a song," the two remain friends. In her book, Wishful Drinking, Fisher wrote, "If you can get Paul Simon to write a song about you, do it. Because he is so brilliant at it."
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Kate Hudson: Photo: Picture Perfect/REX USA.
The "Long Hair, Don't Care" Breakup

Kate Hudson and Chris Robinson are too busy being chill as hell to care about something as unchic as not being friends with your ex. After divorcing in 2008, nearly a year after the divorce, Hudson told The Daily Mail, "Chris and I divorced for the right reasons — we just didn’t work. But we remain extremely close."
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Coutney Cox: Photo: BEImages/Rex USA.
The "Better Off As Friends" Breakup

Courteney Cox and David Arquette ended their marriage in 2010, and remained separated for two more years before filing for divorce in 2012. In an interview with More magazine, Cox said she and Arquette maintain a close friendship and business relationship, adding that they often attend dinner parties together. Said Cox, "As divorces go, this is the best one we could provide."
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Demi Moore: Photo: Everett Collection/REX USA.
The "Family That Divorces Together, Stays Together" Breakup

Possibly the best example of a successful conscious uncoupling is that of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore. They're friends, co-parents, and neighbors. Get a room.
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Amy Poehler: Photo: Erik Pendzich/REX USA.
The "We Love Them More Than They Could Ever Love Each Other" Breakup

According to reports, by the time Amy Poehler and Will Arnett filed for divorce in 2012, they had “started to feel more like best friends than a married couple — and sadly they lost their spark. The two still love each other very dearly — and everything is completely amicable — but the romance died and neither one of them was happy, so something had to be done."
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Miranda Kerr: Photo: Matt Baron/BEImages.
The "It's Hard To Feel Bad For You Because You're So Attractive But We're Glad You're Still Friends" Breakup

Miranda Kerr and Orlando Bloom split on such good terms that they continued to live together for several months after the split was announced. A year after the divorce, Kerr said, “We still love and care for each other deeply,” and that remaining friends is immensely important to both of them. Also, there's this kiss.
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Fran Dresher: Photo: BEBERT BRUNO/REX USA.
The"Seriously Showbiz" Breakup

After separating in 1996, Fran Drescher and Peter Marc Jacobson filed for divorce in 1999. Jacobson came out in 1999 with full support from Drescher, who has worked to support LGBT rights. Drescher stated that she and Jacobson "choose to be in each others’ lives in any capacity. Our love is unique, rare, and unconditional; unless he’s being annoying."
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Hilary Duff: Photo: Rob Latour/REX USA.
The "Lil' Baby" Breakup

Hilary Duff and Mike Comrie announced their divorce in 2012, but are often seen out together. According to a rep for Duff, she and Comre "remain best friends and will continue to be in each other's lives."
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