Why Did Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin Split Six Days After Closing On A $14M Mansion?

The end of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s marriage is sudden, but it’s definitely no surprise. A history of the events leading up to the “conscious uncoupling.”

Colin Young-Wolff/Invision/AP

Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin’s nearly 11 year-long marriage is over.

“It is with hearts full of sadness that we have decided to separate,” reads a statement posted on Paltrow’s lifestyle website, Goop (which subsequently crashed from all the web traffic). “We 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 separated…We have always conducted our relationship privately, and we hope that as we consciously uncouple and coparent, we will be able to continue in the same manner. Love, Gwyneth & Chris.”

For a couple that, according to the Los Angeles Times, just bought a secluded, $14 million, John Lautner-designed home in Malibu last week, the decision to “consciously uncouple” is sudden—but considering the beating they've endured in the tabloid media recently, it’s not exactly a surprise.

Rumors of infidelity have been swirling since last October, when a then-upcoming profile of Paltrow in Vanity Fair apparently enraged the actress enough to send an email—which The New York Times promptly leaked—to her A-list pals, telling them not to answer any questions and recommending that they never “do this magazine again.” “Kim Jong-un couldn’t have issued a more blanket demand,” Vanity Fair’s editor-in-chief, Graydon Carter, later wrote in an editor’s letter. As news of Paltrow’s email missive spread, an “overall theory,” as Carter put it, congealed thusly: “she must have something to hide.”

On cue, the New York Post reported that Vanity Fair was investigating a possible affair between Paltrow and former Fashion Star host Elle Macpherson’s husband, hotel billionaire Jeff Soffer. According to the Post’s sources, Soffer flew Paltrow into Miami for a party celebrating the reopening of his Fontainebleau Hotel, after which “she stayed at his house.” Of course, Paltrow’s reps denied the claims to Us Weekly, calling them “ridiculous.” “She has been friends for him for a long time,” the rep wrote. “Chris [Martin] is friends with him as well. He flew down a dozen friends. There was no romantic relationship.”

Vanity Fair backed off the Paltrow hunt in February when Carter published the editor’s letter, slyly titled “The Paltrow Affair.” In it, he explained that he had only commissioned a piece on the love/hate phenomenon surrounding the actress who was named both “Most Hated Celebrity” (by Star magazine) and “Most Beautiful Woman” (by People) in the same week. There would be no “epic bombshells” about Paltrow or her crumbling marriage—until another, unexpected outlet picked up where Vanity Fair left off.

Almost as soon as Carter’s letter hit the Internet, Whisper, an app for sharing secrets anonymously, published the next infidelity scoop in the form of a smiling picture of Paltrow and the text “Gwyneth Paltrow is cheating on Chris Martin with entertainment lawyer Kevin Yorn (You heard it here first).” The app’s editor-in-chief, former Gawker editor Neetzan Zimmerman, tweeted it out himself, though he told Gawker Media's Defamer that, “for obvious reasons,” he couldn’t identify the source of the Whisper. “But it’s a person with extremely close ties to Gwyneth who came to us directly after Graydon Carter wrote that missive about why VF walked away from the Paltrow profile last year. I have no reason to suspect they’re lying about this, and if anyone would know the truth, this person would.”

Paltrow’s publicist, Stephen Huvane, dutifully denied the latest rumor, calling it “100 percent false” and telling Defamer that “the sours at Whisper is clearly a fake.” (He then followed up minutes later to ask, “What exactly is Whisper anyway?”) Huvane then went into more detail: “The only time Gwyneth has even recently seen Kevin Yorn (who she knows only casually through business contacts) was on a flight from NY-LA. Gwyneth was flying with her assistant and the CEO of Goop and Kevin coincidentally was also in the first class section. I cannot be more clear with you when I say she is NOT having an affair with Kevin Yorn and I will be notifying her attorneys as well.”

Chris Martin, meanwhile, was the target of rumors back in 2009, when Star magazine published a source’s account of Martin kissing and holding hands with Kate Bosworth in the backstage VIP section of a U2 concert. “They weren’t even shy about it,” the source said. “But they looked really into each other—they held hands and kissed, and I saw Chris caress her cheek.” Martin’s reps denied the report, threatened to sue (they never did), and said, “[Bosworth] may have been in the same room with him, but he is not having an affair, was not kissing her or holding her hand.” Martin’s reps also provided an update on the singer’s marriage to Paltrow: at the time, they were “more than fine.”

Paltrow, however, frequently spoke out about the difficulties of marriage. “Sometimes it’s hard being with someone for a long time,” she told Elle in August 2011. “We go through periods that aren’t all rosy. I always say, life is long and you never know what’s going to happen. If, God forbid, we were ever not to be together, I respect him so much as the father of my children. Like, I made such a good choice. He’s such a good dad. You can never be relaxed or smug and think, ‘I’ve got this thing.’ That’s also part of it: keeping yourself on your toes. I’m not going to take this for granted.” In Glamour U.K.’s June 2013 issue, Paltrow put it more bluntly: “It’s hard being married. You go through great times, you go through terrible times. We’re the same as any couple.”

If rumors are what broke Paltrow and Martin, they are also what brought them together. When recounting the story of how she and Martin met to The Sun last year, Paltrow said, “It’s funny because people had started writing that we were going out and we had never even met. Then he was in Los Angeles doing a concert and an actress that he had a crush on was supposed to come to the concert. When she didn’t show up, he was so annoyed that he said, ‘Oh, this is for my girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow.’ Then people were saying, ‘What’s going on?’ I was like, ‘I’ve never met this guy, I’ve no idea!’ Because of that, because people were writing about it, we ended up meeting at a concert and there you go. So, thank you!”

They met in the weeks after Paltrow’s father, Bruce, died of cancer in October 2002, a time during which Martin famously wrote the Coldplay song “Fix You” for Paltrow. Little more than a year later, in December 2003, the two were married in a California ceremony; a year after that, their first child together, daughter Apple, was born. Their son Moses followed in 2006 and just last week, the family was planning to move into a new home together.

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In her Goop statement, Paltrow made sure to note that despite their separation, she, Martin, and their children are “and always will be a family, and in many ways we are closer than we have ever been. We are parents first and foremost, to two incredibly wonderful children and we ask for their and our space and privacy to be respected at this difficult time.”