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Gwyneth Paltrow explains why she 'stepped away' from acting after daughter Apple was born

The Goop founder shares her 19-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son, Moses, with ex-husband and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin.
/ Source: TODAY

Gwyneth Paltrow is sharing why she decided to take a break from acting after welcoming her first child, daughter Apple Martin, 19 years ago.

The Academy Award-winning actor has spoken frequently over the years about why she rarely takes acting roles, and now she's opening up about the exact moment she started to devote less time to her acting career.

In 2004, Paltrow and her ex-husband, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, became parents for the first time when Apple Martin was born. The former couple's son, Moses Martin, arrived in 2006.

The 51-year-old Goop founder spoke to People about her children in a recent interview and revealed that motherhood is one of the reasons why she has taken a step back from the big screen.

When speaking about her career changes over the last decade, Paltrow said, "Well, it’s kind of ironic because I really stepped away from acting when Apple was born. The last time I was in every scene of a movie was when I was pregnant with her."

She said she started to think about the lengthy filming schedule that some movies require and knew she couldn't spend that much time away from her children.

"When I had (Apple), it just, everything felt redefined for me, and I thought, ‘I’m not sure that I want to do this so much as a career. I definitely don’t want to...I’m not going to go away for months on end,'" she said.

The "Shakespeare in Love" star told TODAY’s Willie Geist in July 2022 that she preferred being away from the spotlight and at home with her children.

"I feel very blessed that I’ve been able to try to pursue this other career and kind of like keep hours where I’m able to be home and make them dinner and stuff like that," she shared at the time.

In addition to her two children with Chris Martin, Paltrow is also a stepmother to husband Brad Falchuk's two children: Isabella and Brody Falchuk. During an Instagram Q&A August 30, the businesswoman said she cares for her stepchildren as if they are her kids.

“You know, there’s no book on this; nobody tells us what to do. And in fact, all of the existing media around what a stepmother is casts us in this evil, villainous light," she said, according to People.

She added, "But for myself, the minute I decided, and fully embodied the idea that my step kids were my kids and I love them just as much and I gave them the same rules and boundaries, and just kind of whole-heartedly went for it, then the easier the whole thing got. And now it’s pretty great."

Read on to learn more about Paltrow’s children.

Apple Martin

In 2004, Paltrow welcomed her daughter, Apple, with Martin.

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey at the time, Paltrow revealed why she named her daughter Apple.

"When we were first pregnant, her daddy said, ‘If it’s a girl I think her name should be Apple.' It sounded so sweet, and it conjured such a lovely picture for me, you know," Paltrow said. "Apples are so sweet and they’re wholesome, and it’s biblical. And I just thought it sounded so lovely."

Paltrow noted that Martin was "so in love" with Apple after she arrived. They immediately noticed that their daughter was a "very tranquil" and "aware" baby.

"The first morning we woke up together in the hospital bed, and we were facing each other, and I opened my eyes, and she's got these huge blue eyes," Paltrow told Winfrey. "She was just staring at me with this unbelievable intensity. That's kind of what she's like. She's very curious."

Although Apple is known to be her mom's mini-me, the blond also takes after her father.

Martin once invited his daughter on stage with him to sing an acoustic version of Ariana Grande's "Just A Little Bit Of Your Heart," and Apple crushed it. At the end of the song, she was met with a standing ovation and a kiss from her dad.

In June 2022, she shared a sweet selfie from Apple's high school graduation before seeing her mini-me go off to college in the fall.

“It was horrible. It was truly horrifying,” Paltrow told People about her daughter leaving for school. “I was sick to my stomach, bursting into tears.”

“She came home for October break just last weekend, so that was amazing,” she added. “I see her, but not as much as I’d like. I’d like to see her every day, but I’m so happy for her. She’s doing great.”

In May, Paltrow celebrated her daughter’s 19th birthday.

"I love you so deeply and wholly, it defies articulation. To behold you as a 19 year old woman fills my heart with almost unbearable love, pride and meaning! I can’t take it!" she wrote in the caption.

Moses Martin

In 2006, Paltrow welcomed her son, Moses, with Martin. Like Apple, he also takes after his dad.

When Moses crashed his mom's 2020 interview on "The Tonight Show," he told host Jimmy Fallon that he's "really into music."

"I like to do it a lot,” Moses said. “Right now, I’d say I’m playing guitar the most. It used to be piano for a while, and then I started doing guitar lessons again.”

When Paltrow celebrated her son's 14th birthday on Instagram, she shared a few photos of him over the years. One of the snaps showed Moses jamming out behind the mic as his dad played on the keys.

In April, Paltrow gave her son a sweet birthday shoutout when he turned 17 years old.

Isabella Falchuk

After 13 years of marriage, Paltrow and Martin announced in 2014 that they decided to “consciously uncouple“ and get a divorce. The actor later found love again with producer Brad Falchuk, known for his collaborations with Ryan Murphy, including “American Horror Story” and “Pose.”

Before the two wed, Apple and Martin met Falchuk’s children on the 2016 ski trip at the center of a lawsuit in which the actor was accused of crashing into a man on a slope and causing serious injury.

The two tied the knot in 2018 and Paltrow became a stepmother to Falchuk’s two children, whom he shares with his ex-wife Suzanne Bukinik, creating a blended family. In October 2020, Falchuk shared a photo of him going to vote and the same polling location his daughter was volunteering at. The “Pose” creator said it was “pretty cool” to see his little girl there.

Over the years, Paltrow and Isabella have grown close. In September 2022, the "Iron Man" star celebrated her stepdaughter's 18th birthday.

According to People, Paltrow shared a photo of her and Isabella together on on her Instagram story for her stepdaughter's birthday. Over the snap, she wrote, "Happy birthday @izzyfalchuk. We miss you today and love you.”

In August, Paltrow responded to fan questions on Instagram, including one that read: “Do you find it hard sometimes to be a bonus (step) mom?”

Paltrow shared that she did find it “really hard” at first.

“All the existing media around what a stepmother is casts us in this evil, villainous light. It’s kind of like trying to avoid land mines,” Paltrow said in the video. “And then you’re going into a family with dynamics, and there’s all kinds of fear around loss, and what does this new person mean.”

But she said deciding to treat her children and stepchildren the same helped her reach the relationship they share today, which she described as “pretty great.”

Brody Falchuk

Falchuk shares Isabella and Brody with his ex-wife, Suzanne Bukinik. Paltrow has said that both of her children are similar in age to her stepchildren.

In March 2018, Falchuk shared a sweet snap with his son as they climbed a tree together.

"More people have been on the summit of Mt. Everest than have climbed to the top of a giant redwood. This is us about a third of the way up “Grandfather”. Brody was the youngest to ever do it," the proud dad captioned the post, adding the hashtag, #fathersandsons.

After Falchuk and Paltrow got married in 2018, Paltrow said she was concerned at first about how she was going to be a stepmom.

"It’s funny because when I became a stepmother, when I knew I was going to become a stepmother, I was like, ‘S—, I have no idea how to do this. There’s nothing to read. What do I do? Where do I step in? Where do I not? Like, how do I do this?’" she told Gabrielle Union, who is Zaya Wade's stepmother, on the "Goop" podcast in March 2021, per People.

But Paltrow said that she started to see things differently when she told herself: "F--- it, these are my kids. I’m not going to be scared to discipline them or draw the boundary."

“That’s really what shifted everything," she told Falchuk in a September podcast episode.

Falchuk also recalled a time when Paltrow got a little stern with Brody. He said the "Shallow Hal" star "yelled" at Brody when they were having dinner, leaving the teen "shocked." But Brody soon teen became "relaxed" because he was being treated like “every other kid here," Falchuk said.

“If someone asked me for advice on it, I would just say, ‘From day one, really treat them as your kid,'" Paltrow noted.