Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Pitt were one of the most talked-about couples of nineties, dating from 1994 to 1997.
During their three year relationship, the duo became household names, both separately and as an item - even getting engaged in 1996, just six months before their break up.
Now 26 years later, Paltrow and Pitt appear to be on very good terms, speaking highly of each other, and even sitting down together last year, when the Goop founder interviewed her former fiancé as he launched his skincare brand.
“Everything works out, doesn’t it?” Pitt joked about their former engagement. And Paltrow even referenced her current marriage to writer and producer Brad Falchuk in response, replying: "Yes, it does. I finally found the Brad I was supposed to marry. It just took me 20 years.”
“It’s lovely to have you as a friend now," Pitt told his former fiancée. "And I do love you.” Paltrow responded: “I love you so much.”
Despite the former couple parting ways 26 years ago, their former relationship and now friendship is still making waves, with the internet eager to know more about their iconic relationship - how they met, what they have said about each other, and ultimately why they went their separate ways.
Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Pitt
Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Pitt met while filming thriller Se7en together, and the pair started dating soon afterwards.
According to Pitt, it was inevitable, even recalling in an interview with Rolling Stone: "I knew immediately, I'll tell you that much. I got within 10 feet of her, and I got goofy. I couldn't talk."
Gwyneth also reflected on their first meeting in the LA Times back in 1996, recalling: "When Brad and I met, he says, it was obvious that he liked me and that I was an idiot. But I had no idea. I thought he was just really friendly. And then I started getting a crush on him. I'm like, 'Are you insane? You can't get a crush on Brad Pitt. Get hold of yourself.'"
And so started the epic romance that was Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Pitt - complete with matching hairstyles, 90s fashion and public displays of affection.
"I'm in a very happy relationship," Paltrow said of her romance with Pitt back in 1996, while talking to the LA Times. "We're the best of friends. We go out on a date together. We go to the movies. I make dinner. We go out to dinner. We have friends over."
That same year, Brad Pitt publicly thanked Paltrow in his Golden Globes acceptance speech, calling her out as "the love of my life, my angel, Gwyneth Paltrow" when he took home the Best Supporting Actor gong for his role in 12 Monkeys.
The couple got engaged in December 1996, but just six months later they announced their separation.
Why did Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Pitt break up?
Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Pitt's split was announced in June 1997 by Pitt's publicist Cindy Guagenti, who told the New York Post: "They have been broken up for a couple of weeks now. It's not because of any one specific event."
"It's a real relationship with real problems," a source close to the couple added, ruling out any speculation of infidelity. "This is not about any third party. This is absolutely between the two of them."
Both Paltrow and Pitt kept tight-lipped about the break up for years, with Paltrow first broaching the subject a year later. "People are, like, obsessed with knowing why," Paltrow reportedly explained to Entertainment Weekly. "I think, What do you mean, why? When two people aren't supposed to be together, they're not supposed to be together."
Paltrow in particular has spoken out several time since, blaming herself and her youth for the break up.
“I think I was a kid and I wasn't ready," she explained on The Howard Stern Show in 2015. "He was too good for me."
Two years later, in an interview on Sophia Amoruso’s podcast, Girlboss Radio, Paltrow doubled down on taking accountability, issuing a public apology to Pitt.
"I’ve fucked up so many relationships," she told Sophia Amoruso. "I’m actually a pretty good friend, and a good sister and daughter and mother, but I’m at my potentially most vulnerable and fucked up in the romantic slice of the pie. It’s taken me a lot of work to get to the place where I have a good romantic relationship. So Brad Pitt, if you’re listening. I fucked that up, Brad."
Following their sweet interview last year, Paltrow reflected once more about their break up, telling Entertainment Tonight: "When we first broke up we weren't friends for a while. And then we sort of found our way back probably about 18 or 19 years ago - something like that. And then we just kind of stayed in touch over the years.
"I adore him," she continued. "He's an amazing person and he's a great entrepreneur and such a creative and such a good person. I really love him. I'm a big fan."
Paltrow has spoken publicly about her break up from Pitt on several occasions, recalling in a past interview with WSJ Magazine that they got off lightly in terms of media attention - particularly compared to what it would be like now.
"Cameron Diaz and I talk about this all the time," the Academy Award winner recalled in the 2019 interview. "We're like, 'Thank God in the early '90s there were [so few] paparazzi.'"
She continued: "Thank god. I remember when Brad Pitt and I broke up, it was on the cover of the New York Post and there was no one outside my house. That would never happen today."
Thankfully there is clearly no bad blood between the former couple. In fact, they seem to share a solid friendship.
We will continue to update this story.
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Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.
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