In the last few months, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin have visited Paris together for Easter, had dinner with their son Moses in London, been on a beach holiday to the Caribbean, lovingly paid tribute to one another on Instagram, and apparently redefined their relationship – again (Gwyneth wrote online, ‘Happy birthday my brother, thanks for giving me these two [children]’).
So it’s perhaps no surprise that Chris’s new girlfriend, Dakota Johnson, is said to be finding their arrangement... awkward. According to one well-placed source, ‘The current situation is challenging for her, and she’s not sure if she really wants to share her partner with another woman who is still so involved in every aspect of his life.
‘Dakota is still very much in love with Chris, but things have been difficult between them lately. She’s told friends the relationship is hanging by a thread and that she’s given up hope of ever having a normal relationship outside his Gwyneth-run family. She’s struggling to see how it’s going to work. It’s like her presence is wrecking their relationship.’
The pair were first linked in October last year and, by all accounts, things progressed very quickly (earlier this year, Grazia reported that they were practically living together). They have since been seen at fashion shows together, attended Ellen DeGeneres’ 60th birthday side-by- side, and have been spotted on dates in Malibu and Vancouver, where Dakota is filming her latest project, Bad Times At e El Royale.
But it wouldn’t be the first time that one of Chris’ relationships has faltered because of Gwyneth: according to sources, his romance with Jennifer Lawrence petered out because of his ‘devotion’ to his ex-wife and their ‘modern family’ (Gwyn’s words, not ours). By contrast, Gwyneth has successfully moved on with Glee producer Brad Falchuck, who she became engaged to in January.
‘Dakota is starting to realise that she’s still at the bottom of a very steep uphill battle,’ added the source. ‘At times, she feels almost like a mistress in Chris’s ongoing relationship with Gwyneth. And she doesn’t feel that it’s a healthy place for her to be. She’s wondering if she should just cut her losses and move on.’
As for Gwyneth? ‘I don’t think she sees Dakota and Chris going the distance,’ continued the insider. ‘She still expects a great deal from Chris and demands a lot of his time, not just in co-parenting but also continuing their friendship. It’s going to take someone extremely special and powerful to change that dynamic. ‘Gwyneth’s priorities will always be protecting the bond that she shares with Chris and nurturing that for the sake of keeping what they have. She’s been tireless in making their separation work for themselves and the children. It’s not an open-door policy when it comes to her home life.’
Indeed, in an interview with Grazia last year, the founder of conscious uncoupling – Katherine Woodward Thomas – said, ‘When other people come into the situation, you have to train them that this is how your family works, this is how you do things. There are certain principles and practices of consciously uncoupling families that make their situation work. In some ways, you’re still a package deal with your family.’
And she added, ‘The new partner may come in and say, “I’m a little uncomfortable with the way you’re interacting, make a new boundary.” But a consciously uncoupling family ends up as one where the primary spouses have shifted the energy between them to be more like cousins. The fundamental thing is, “This is my family, and it’s not going to change.”’ Gwyneth couldn’t have put it better herself.