Gwyneth Paltrow Says Prospect of Being an Empty Nester Is “Kind of Giving Me a Nervous Breakdown”

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Gwyneth Paltrow kicked off her 11th In Goop Health Summit April 19 to 21 at the upscale Park Hyatt Aviara Resort Golf Club & Spa in Carlsbad, where a Miraval Life in Balance Spa Aviara was unveiled in September as the final phase of a $60 million resort-wide renovation. Guests paid $1,200 for a daylong Summit Pass or $4,000 for a Weekender Pass, which included a two-night stay at the resort, a welcome dinner and brunch.

As usual, there was an array of wellness experiences and thought leaders. The keynote featured Justina Blakeney, founder of home décor brand Jungalow, and powerhouse entrepreneur Emma Grede, who co-founded Khloé Kardashian’s denim brand Good American in 2016, co-founded Skims shapewear with her husband, Jens Gredes, and Kim Kardashian in 2019, and rolled out both Kris Jenner’s natural cleaning brand Safely in 2021 and Kylie Jenner’s Khy fashion label in October 2023.

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Tapping into Grede’s smarts for business strategy, Paltrow asked her, “You have these super famous sisters who are incredible at understanding the consumer. Is there risk there? I think about this for myself. Like, how do I grow Goop to not be reliant on me? How do you think about Skims without Kim? Your marketing’s the best in the world. Whatever’s sort of in the ether, all of a sudden, you’re there. It’s so brilliant. Is that designed to kind of distribute the responsibility away from Kim?”

Justina Blakeney, Emma Grede and Gwyneth Paltrow on stage during the In Goop Health summit.
Justina Blakeney, Emma Grede and Gwyneth Paltrow onstage during the In Goop Health summit.

Responding to her friend, Grede said, “You can’t anchor a business around a personality alone, if you want to be a brand with staying power, right? Because we all know that celebrity currency goes up and down. You’re like one bad movie, song, moment, boyfriend, whatever it is, from disaster. … You have to have mission, vision, values, as any brand needs. I come from a product background, and I think what we’ve done, time and time again, is create best-in-class products, where talent is an acceleration. Nobody comes back to buy a product from someone they love if the product is bad.”

Grede continued: “Like The Rock has that incredible tequila, Teremana. You can’t spend $200 million to get the recognition that you get from his Instagram. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to drink the tequila. The tequila’s got to be good; it’s got to taste nice; it’s got to do the job of tequila, and then we’re all lit and it’s great! To do that, you have to have innovation at the heart of what you do. You have to have incredible pricing structures. … It’s about meaning something to customers at a certain time within popular culture. … I’m always looking at white space opportunities. Often with brands there’s a generational shift, right? It’s like everybody used to buy their knickers from Victoria’s Secret and now they don’t. Times change and I’m interested in embracing those shifts. When people think about AI and say they don’t like it. I’m leaning in, like, what can I learn? What’s going to be the new arbitrage?”

Goop Beauty 72-Hour Supercharged Hydrating Water-Cream
Goop Beauty 72-Hour Supercharged Hydrating Water-Cream

Goop Beauty 72-Hour Supercharged Hydrating Water-Cream

$68 at Goop

Of course, a curated array of Goop merch was peddled at the event in a pop-up shop that “did incredibly well, surpassing the day’s sales goal,” according to a Goop spokesperson. Highlights included a new Goop Beauty 72-Hour Supercharged Hydrating Water-Cream ($68) and the latest G. Label by Goop apparel (including The Hostess Dress in summery linen for $625, a puff-sleeve One-and-Done Sweater for $595 and The Polished Jeans Short in crisp white for $295). Guests oohed and aahed over a light pink Hermès Birkin bag on offer for a cool $24,000 (Goop sells vintage handbags from luxury reseller What Comes Around Goes Around). Also on display was a variety of gold jewelry, such as statement Foundrae necklaces, and, yes, vibrators.

HigherDOSE Red Light Therapy Mask
HigherDOSE Red Light Therapy Mask

HigherDOSE Red Light Therapy Mask

$349 at HigherDose

Stations offered astrology readings, ear seeding, B12 shots by Hydration Room, YINA gua sha scalp massages and HigherDOSE red-light therapy treatments. There were healthy snacks like Bjorn Corn, Simply Fruit Bites and Purely Elizabeth granola, while coffee and matcha drinks were infused with collagen, protein, Anima Mundi Happiness Tonic, Steens manuka honey and Rasasvada zero-proof spirits.

Participants at the In Goop Health Summit 2024.
Participants sampling HigherDOSE red-light therapy treatments at the In Goop Health Summit 2024.

On the agenda, couples therapist Dr. Stan Tatkin gave a talk on “how to fight well” with your partner, while grief expert Claire Bidwell Smith sat down with psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb to discuss embracing change. Also in the rotation was wellness expert and Reiki master Claudia Yates, who led a yoga, meditation and sound bath class using charged stones to channel chakra energies. The latter was presented by the Hyatt Wellbeing Collective, launched in October to offer wellness experiences at over 30 properties, including Carlsbad.

When Paltrow emerged in the afternoon to lead her signature “Ask Me Anything” session, she donned a $275 puff-sleeve G. Label by Goop sweatshirt bearing the phrase “Goop Depuis / Since 2008,” paired with sleek black leather shorts and stiletto pumps. The Oscar winner and Goop founder-CEO answered questions on a wide range of topics. Here are some standouts.

On what she is learning lately:  “I’m currently learning Italian and started with a tutor, recently, which has been great. … My Spanish actually confuses it, [because] it’s so similar. I’ll be trying to speak Italian and I pull Spanish words. I also have a Spanish accent when I speak Italian, which is not great. In the future, I’d really like to learn how to bake sourdough bread. I’m not a good baker at all! I’ve been reading a lot about real sourdough and how it kind of turns bread into a superfood. So that’s what I would like to learn next.”

Goop Graphic Puff-Sleeve Pullover
Goop Graphic Puff-Sleeve Pullover

G. Label By Goop Graphic Puff-Sleeve Pullover

$275 at Goop

On therapy:  “I do a fair amount. I speak with my therapist once a week and then I also have an executive coach I work with … When my husband and I need it, we jump in and do couples therapy, which I think is super helpful if you want to be in a good long-term situation. We don’t go that often, because we only really ever fight about one thing: our kids! … We’re here in this body and mind one time; let’s get as close to ourselves as possible and maximize that relationship. The only way to do that is through the hard truth with yourself and vulnerability with someone else, and therapy is a good place to start.”

On being an empty nester when 18-year-old Moses heads to Brown University this fall: “It’s kind of giving me a nervous breakdown, if I’m honest. I started being like, ‘Oh my God, and I need to quit my job and I need to sell my house and I need to move.’ It’s sort of putting things into turmoil. My identity has been being a mother. Apple’s going to be 20 in May. So I’ve oriented my whole life around them and their schedules and when school starts. You start to let go in increments when they’re driving themselves around or doing certain things. It is a slower process. I feel really lucky because I have a close group of mom friends and we all raised our kids alongside one another. So we’re kind of in it together.

“Psychologist-astrologist Jennifer Freed said, ‘I would like you to think of it as being free birds instead of having an empty nest.’ And that resonates. Instead of creating a sense of loss, what if I were free? And I could say yes to a girls’ weekend, because I didn’t feel guilty. That kind of thing.”

On the possibility of a Goop hotel: “I think about that all the time. That’s my pie-in-the-sky dream. But we have to do too many things at Goop as it is. Maybe one day. I feel like we need a Goop hotel more in the city where everything’s so hectic and chaotic. The idea that you could come in after a long flight and have an IV and a cold plunge and all the stuff. I feel like it would be good for urban life.”

In Goop Health Summit - Product Presentation - Carlsbad, California 2024
Participants at the In Goop Health Summit 2024.

On what she is most proud of at Goop: “How we opened up conversations and some of those conversations made people uncomfortable, like [about] the patriarchy or existing systems. I think we just need to loosen things up. Yeah, I’m curious about this, let’s ask the questions — whether it’s around sexual wellness or gluten-free food or trying to get a divorce in a nicer way. All the things we have talked about, where I have been a pebble in the shoe of the status quo, just paving the way for women to be able to have conversations and think about things in a different way. Not necessarily in my way. In their way.”

Products included at the In Goop Health Summit 2024 in Carlsbad, California.
Products included at the In Goop Health Summit 2024 in Carlsbad, California.

On owning her power in business: “When I turned 40, I had this sort of upgrade, which really pulled me into my power and I started looking at life and work in a different way, thinking, ‘Why am I apologizing all the time? Why am I constantly leaning into the narrative that I don’t know what I’m doing or that I’ve done something wrong? This is so boring and it’s not an efficient way to move through life.’ I tried to start telling myself, ‘I belong here.’ … I’m always continuing to learn and assess. Am I in the right spot? Is it time to do a different role at the company? Do I want to be here for a long time or could somebody do it better? I think it’s important to always question where you are when you have ambitions for growth but also to just allow for the specialness of what you bring. And now that I’m 51 and got another upgrade when I was 50, I really don’t give a fuck and I’m happy to completely be in my power, seeing what happens.”

Anima Mundi drinks at In Goop Health summit Carlsbad California 2024
Drinks made with Anima Mundi Happiness Tonic at the In Goop Health summit in Carlsbad, California.

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