Gwyneth Paltrow has fun working with husband again on The Politician
She discusses her character in The Politician, working with her producer spouse and raising kids
Perhaps the only reason we are even seeing Gwyneth Paltrow on the small screen is because of her TV producer husband.
In the second season of satirical comedy series The Politician, the 47-year-old American actress reprises her role of Georgina, the devoted adoptive mother of ambitious title character Payton Hobart (Ben Platt) who is determined to be the President of the United States one day.
Currently streaming on Netflix, it is created and executive produced by Ryan Murphy and his long-time collaborator Brad Falchuk, whom Paltrow married in 2018 after the couple first met on the set of teen series Glee in 2010.
The first season culminated in her socialite character having an affair with a woman, becoming penniless when her wealthy husband cut her out of his will and decamping to Bhutan.
Now, she returns home and enters politics, announcing a campaign for governor of California, which is unfortunate for Payton, who is busy running for the State Senate of New York, and his campaign is overshadowed by hers.
Paltrow was persuaded to take the role only because Falchuk, 49, wrote it for her. After all, she is better known these days for her popular but polarising wellness and lifestyle company Goop, and recently debuted the documentary series The Goop Lab on Netflix, extending her online business into a streaming show.
She said: "When I signed on to do Season 1, I signed on for 2. So I knew if they wanted to write me back into it that I would be available for them. And I have a really good time doing the show. I really love the people in it, and it is obviously fun to work with my husband.
"But it is a big departure from what's become my regular daily life, which is running Goop."
In these coronavirus times, our interview was via teleconference, and Paltrow was calling from her home in Los Angeles where she is sheltering with Falchuk and her two children Apple, 16, and Moses, 14, whom she shares with ex-husband Chris Martin, the frontman of English rock band Coldplay.
For her, falling in love again and experiencing marriage the second time around has been a "wonderful surprise".
"I didn't necessarily think it would happen for me and honestly, I got very, very, lucky. I am grateful and happy about it. I think when it happens to you when you are a bit older in life, you place a value and an importance on it that you don't do when you are in your 20s because you don't know the difference yet."
What is up with Georgina and is she like you in any way?
She is a strange character in a lot of ways but she is very, very present. It is almost like whatever she is doing at the moment, she is going to do 1,000 per cent.
I was pretty surprised that she was going to be a politician in this season as well. But when I read it, I thought it made a lot of sense. She is a passionate person.
I think she is a really good mother to Payton, she really loves him, sees him and understands him, and she is really not such a good mother to her other sons. So she probably gets a 50 per cent, at best.
How are you coping with the lockdown?
The first couple of weeks of quarantine felt like a bit of a shock. Even though my work at Goop has been intense - more full-time than ever- it's been wonderful to not have to set an alarm early every morning to get everybody up and drive everybody to school and make food. It's been nice to let the body reset more to its natural rhythms.
I've been trying to meditate every day, even if it is just a short breathing meditation. I was going on a lot of walks, but then there were lots of people following us around, so now I am doing a lot of yoga in my house. I've also been cooking a lot, just really focusing on the family and the quality of our relationships.
How are your kids dealing with the situation?
I was worried it would be difficult for them, and then I was reminded of the resiliency of children.
We get so used to having our lives and our freedoms, and for teenagers to be told, okay, no going out, no parties, no skateboarding, anything like that, it is quite a change. I was thinking, 'Oh my goodness, how am I going to keep them engaged?'
But my kids were so wonderful during this time. They were responsible with their schoolwork, and what I love the most was the long, lingering dinner conversations we had every night.
It's been a good lesson for all of us in being present, really listening to what comes up. Because when you are stuck in the house with people, even if you love them, or even if you are by yourself, the inner voices get louder, so it is a good opportunity to tune in to the inner voice and see what needs to be taken care of.
You posted pictures of your daughter, Apple, on Instagram for her 16th birthday. Does that make you feel older?
When you are raising children, the days are long and the years are fast, so all of a sudden, she is this young woman with all of these amazing opinions.
And yes, it makes me feel old but it makes me feel great at the same time. I do think this generation of children really have a whole different way of seeing the world. They have much less judgement around sexual orientation and gender. They are very progressive - at least in my house they are.
The writer is the chair of the board of directors of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a non-profit organisation of entertainment journalists that also organises the annual Golden Globe Awards.