Gwyneth Paltrow wasn't prepared for the emotions she would experience during a pivotal moment in her daughter's life.
The actress and Goop founder, 50, chatted with PEOPLE during the Gwyneth Paltrow x Copper Fit Feel the Fit Press Day in Santa Monica, California, on Wednesday evening, where she opened up about sending daughter Apple Blythe Martin to college for the first time.
"It was horrible. It was truly horrifying," Paltrow tells PEOPLE exclusively. "I was sick to my stomach, bursting into tears."
The mother of two notes she "getting more and more used to" her only daughter being away at school, especially after seeing "how happy she is and settled" during a recent "parents weekend" visit.
At least one other visit has happened since. "She came home for October break just last weekend, so that was amazing," Paltrow adds. "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."
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Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Copper Fit Gwyneth Paltrow
Paltrow welcomed Apple in 2004 with ex-husband Chris Martin, whom she split from in 2014. They also share a 16-year-old son, Moses, while the Shakespeare in Love actress is also stepmom to husband Brad Falchuk's two children: son Brody and daughter Isabella.
Back in June, Paltrow congratulated her daughter on her high school graduation by sharing a photo from the special day on her Instagram Story at the time. In it, the star could be seen posing beside Apple and Martin, 45.
"Congratulations to all of the graduates especially @applemartin," she wrote, adding a "Class of 2022" sticker under the sweet family photo.
Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Gwyneth Paltrow
Just a month before, the Academy Award winner celebrated Apple's 18th birthday. On Instagram, Paltrow shared a picture of the teen posing in front of a mirror, writing in the caption how "proud" she is of Apple.
"18. I'm a bit of a loss for words this morning (😭). I could not be more proud of the woman you are. You are everything I could have dreamed of and so much more," she said. "Proud doesn't cover it, my heart swells with feelings I can't put in to words. You are deeply extraordinary in every way."
"Happy birthday my darling girl. I hope you know how special you are, and how much light you have brought to all who are lucky enough to know you. Especially me. I say it all the time and I will never stop… in the words of auntie Drew, I was born the day you were born. I love you. ❤️ Mama," Paltrow continued.
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Paltrow previously opened up about sending Apple away to school in a sit down with CBS Sunday Morning that aired in September. The proud mom hasn't shared any details about where Apple is going to school or what she is studying.
During the interview, Tracy Smith asked Paltrow how she felt about her daughter starting college, to which she replied, "I know this sounds nuts, but it feels almost as profound as giving birth."