Acting and film have never been occurred to Gwyneth Kate Paltrow as something unfamiliar since her parents are closely related to the entertainment industry. Her late father, Bruce Paltrow, was a notable TV and film producer as well as director, while her mother Blythe Danner is a Tony Award-winning actress. Born on September 27, 1972, she, along with her younger brother Jake, spent her early life in Los Angeles, Massachusetts, and also Manhattan where she entered the exclusive Spence School. Her interest in acting flourished upon watching her mother's performance at Williamstown Theatre Festival in Berkshires. This led her to take part in one of the theatre's productions, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," in 1990. Feeling that acting was her call, she subsequently left her study of art history at the University of California in Santa Barbara and set out to accomplish her goal.
Through an audition, she successfully made her film debut in "Shout" (1991) alongside John Travolta. In the same year, she was offered to portray young Wendy in "Hook" by its director, Steven Spielberg, who happened to be her family's good friend. The following year marked her first performance on TV as she was cast in NBC miniseries entitled "Cruel Doubt," being the daughter of a character played by her own mother, Blythe. Her name started to make sound when she brilliantly enacted a Texas woman named Ginnie in "Flesh and Bone" (1993). Critically acclaimed, she continued to manifest the same acting quality in "Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle" (1994) and "Jefferson in Paris" (1995). It was not until David Fincher's "Se7en" (1995) that she experienced her first true taste of fame for the movie turned out to be one of the year's box office hits.
It later appeared to Gwyneth that her growing popularity was primarily based on her love relationship with Brad Pitt, her co-star in "Se7en." While she repeatedly became the news subject as well as the camera object of the photographers either from the sleaziest tabloids or the media mainstream, most people noticed her as merely the gorgeous actor's girlfriend. Intending to show that she was more than just Brad's sweetheart, she made a fabulous performance in "Emma" (1996), displaying a perfect English accent which brought public's realization to her real talent. After their engagement in 1996, this striking couple surprisingly decided to separate in 1997 with the reason neither of them felt that they could pursue their careers and at the same time maintain a happy marriage. Nevertheless, this made her totally devastated as she said: "It really changed my life. When we split up, something changed, permanently, in me. My heart sort of broke that day, and it will never be the same."
Refused to sink in deeper grief due to the failure of her love life, Gwyneth moved forward to establish herself as the "A" class of Hollywood actress. By 1998, she was even involved in five film projects, namely "Sliding Doors," "Great Expectations," "Hush," "A Perfect Murder," and "Shakespeare in Love." Not only scored box-office, the latter one also directed her to receive a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical and two Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role and by a Cast in 1999. Her career reached its peak when she was rewarded a prestigious Academy Award for Best Actress in the same year. This tremendous attainment undoubtedly indicated that she has developed to be one of the Hollywood finest actresses, completely stepping out from Brad's shadow which still engulfed her.
Gwyneth afterwards consistently exhibited marvelous depictions of the characters she portrayed, including in "The Talented Mr. Ripley" (1999), "Bounce" (2000), "The Royal Tenenbaums" (2001), and "Shallow Hal" (2001). In between, her return to the stage production was also well received since she gained rave reviews through her performance in "As You Like It" at Williamstown Theater Festival in 1999. During this golden period, she took chance to explore her singing potentiality as well, performing "Cruisin'" with co-star Huey Lewis in "Duets" (2000) which was directed by her own father, Bruce Paltrow. The song surprisingly became a hit single in Australian music charts, pointing out that she was indeed a versatile artist. The movie, however, apparently was the last film in which she teamed with her loving father for he finally surrendered to the complications of pneumonia while having a recurrence of throat cancer on October 3, 2002.
Losing her father was such a great loss for Gwyneth, yet she had to go on with her life. She continued filming "Possession" (2002), "View from the Top" (2003), and "Sylvia" (2003) in which she shared the scene with her mother. The same year the latter flick came out also found her getting married to Coldplay frontman Chris Martin on December 5, to be exact, after previously dating several Hollywood stars namely Ben Affleck, Scott Speedman, and Luke Wilson. On May 14 the next year, the couple happily welcomed their first child, a daughter, whom they named Apple Blythe Alison Martin while later witnessing the theatrical release of Gwyneth's star-studded vehicle "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" on September 17. This was followed by the arrival of their second child, son Moses Bruce Anthony Martin, on April 8, 2006, by caesarean section in New York City's Mount Sinai Hospital.
Despite all the glory and success in either her career or private life, Gwyneth actually has suffered from a depression after her father's death as she made a confession to the public of her mental condition in May 2005. "He's dead, and I'm suffering. Before this happened, I was really at a place in my life where I thought, I've figured it out," she admitted. "Then it was like someone stomped me in the stomach. I needed to talk to my therapist and practice yoga. I hadn't dealt with it, and I felt like it was killing me. I was really scared." Fortunately she finally was able to overcome the depression and strove forward to maintain her path in film industry, appearing in "Infamous", "Love and Other Disasters", and "Running with Scissors" by 2006 then in "The Good Night" in 2007, a rom-com flick directed by her own brother Jake. A more high-profile stint came afterwards when she was cast as Virginia 'Pepper' Potts in the highly anticipated superhero flick "Iron Man" (2008) opposite Robert Downey Jr. who played her boss, billionaire Tony Stark, the titular character's alter ego.