Gwyneth Paltrow on being a stepmom: really treat them as your kid from day one

As you may or may not know, The goop brand has branched into podcasting. On the latest episode of The goop Podcast, Gwyneth Paltrow interviews her husband Brad Falchuk. They talk about turning 50, stepparenting, second marriages and grief because they invented all of that. Okay, they didn’t, but to hear them talk about it, you would think they did. They did put “reinventing second marriages” in their write up for the episode. The fact that they spoke about their stepparenting is interesting because I’ve never heard Gwyneth speak about her step kids. I’ve never heard Brad talk at all so really, everything he said was pretty novel for me. Not too surprisingly, they threw compliments at each other about how well they were doing as stepparents. Gwyneth said she had one regret about her approach to stepparenting which was that she had too much trepidation in the beginning. She said the one bit of advice she would pass on to new stepparents is to treat your step children as your own from the start.

Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband, Brad Falchuk, are opening up about their approaches to parenting each other’s kids. Paltrow is mom to 18-year-old daughter Apple and 16-year-old son Moses with ex-husband Chris Martin, while Falchuk is dad to 18-year-old daughter Isabella and 16-year-old son Brody with his ex, Suzanne Bukinik.

Paltrow, 50, and Falchuk, 51, tied the knot in 2018 after several years together and took on the task of blending their families.

“You’re a spectacular stepmom, like, thank goodness for you,” Falchuk tells Paltrow on a new episode of her The goop podcast.

The Goop founder admits to having some reservations about her step-mom abilities, but her husband reassures her.

“You are! You know you are. My kids absolutely, I mean, you have a relationship with them outside of me,” Falchuk says. “You talk to them all the time. They come to you for advice all the time. They rely on you.”

Noting that she loves her stepchildren “so much,” Paltrow says she has “one regret” about how she first approached her role as their stepmother.

“I think there’s this archetypal evil stepmother and this inference that it’s going to be this fraught thing,” Paltrow explains. “So I think I came into it on tenterhooks… it’s like you can only do the wrong thing. That’s my only regret.”

“However many years ago when I was like, ‘F**k it, these are my kids. I’m not going to be scared to discipline them or draw the boundary,'” she shares. “That’s really what shifted everything.”

Falchuk recalls one situation where Paltrow yelled at his son, Brody, at the dinner table.

“He was shocked for a second and then he was relaxed for the rest of dinner because he thought, ‘Thank goodness, I’m just like every other kid here. She actually yelled at me for being an a**hole,'” he says.

“I’d say, ‘From day one, really treat them as your kid.’ Meaning, don’t have trepidation because they’re not yours and you don’t have jurisdiction,” she explains. “It’s like, no, be your full self as a parent with all the love and all the acceptance and all the boundaries, right? I just wish I had done that earlier.”

[From ET]

I ended up listening to the whole podcast because I really needed context for these quotes. I liked the concept of treating step kids as your own from the start, that seemed sound. But in the article above, it almost sounded like Gwyneth was just giving us an excuse to shout at people sooner. And then there’s the fact that Brad and Gwyneth took a full year after they married to move in together because they were “being respectful of our children,” which led most of us to believe the kids were not too happy about Mummy and Daddy’s jump-offs. After listening to the discussion, I still believe the kids objected to the overlap in Brad and Gwyneth’s relationship, but I also think maybe they, or at least Gwyneth, overcompensated by not restricting Brad’s kid at all. And they, in turn, didn’t respect her until she started acting like an authority figure. It makes sense, I’m sure plenty of stepparents have done this to win over their step kids. It also sounds like they’ve worked out a relationship and that’s good. It’s always best when families blend as best they can.

I like the way Brad put it when he spoke about stepparenting Apple and Moses Martin. He talked about what a fun and loving father Chris Martin was, so the kids already had a wonderful father in their lives. Hence, Brad said, “the great thing is I don’t have to be their dad. I’m not trying to replace their dad, but I am a dad to them… Fundamentally I love them like they’re mine, because they are.” Again, I agree with Gwyneth’s advice, but I like the way Brad put it. This sums it up so beautifully. Which is odd because the rest of the podcast he was so far up Gwynnie’s derriere, he could’ve removed any polyps.

Totally unrelated but shocking all the same, Oscar-winning Gwyneth Paltrow, daughter of Bruce Paltrow, has never seen Jaws, Star Wars or Sunset Boulevard.

Photo credit: Backgrid, Instagram and Cover Images

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21 Responses to “Gwyneth Paltrow on being a stepmom: really treat them as your kid from day one”

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  1. alwaysannarun says:

    I know a guy who cheated on and left his wife for his side piece. She now refers to his kids as her “bonus children” (ala LeAnn) and that just feels icky to me. But, not my circus I guess.

    • tealily says:

      What do you do, though? Assuming you’re genuinely working on building a family together, you’ve built a relationship with his kids. The more love and support the better, I think. We all make our own families anyway, as we get older.

    • Turtledove says:

      I feel bad for their mom. On the one hand, yes, it is absolutely best for the kids if the step mom is good to them and they like her. Full stop.

      But if your husband cheats on you and leaves you for another woman, it must be very hard to see your kids interact with them, call them “bonus mom” etc. Sure, it would be worse if she was NOT good to the kids. Far worse.

      If a couple divorces, and the dad THEN finds someone after, that is different. But if mom was blindsided by cheating and then he leaves her for the person he cheated with? Sorry, that is so hard.

      • Em says:

        My uncle did that to my aunt. His kids have never accepted or grown close to the mistress turned wife. No matter how hard she tries. And I don’t blame the kids for that at all – they are rightfully loyal to their mom. It is a normal emotional reaction.

        I blame my uncle entirely for this situation. Cheating is horrible and emotionally abusive to the whole family. Full stop. People need to think harder about how it will impact their children. Assuming “it will all be fine in the end” is putting yourself first and not your children, and certainly not your partner (but if you’re cheating you obviously don’t care about them anyway).

  2. Iris says:

    I really loved this. I just thought it was a lovely conversation between two people who clearly adore each other. I’m not sure if you follow Sara and Erin Foster? I don’t agree with everything they say tbh but when they talk about how damaging their childhood was because their stepmother really made it clear they weren’t her kids, weren’t part of the family etc… I think this is sound advice.

    • Leanne says:

      I can see your point, and yes a step-parent should never treat a step-child as “other” and not part of the family. But, I have to tell you, I had 6 different step-parents throughout my childhood and I was adamant that none of them were my mom/dad. So, I would have huge problems with Gwyneth acting like my mother from day one. Just like any relationship, a step-parent/step-child relationship needs to grow and bloom, and frankly needs to be something different than a traditional parent-child relationship. And, she was right to have trepidations in the beginning.

      • Vanessa says:

        Yes! I have a step daughter, and no I did not just step in on day 1 and try to act like her mother. She has a mother. You have to respect boundaries. We grew a friendship, she is 17 now and I am still not acting like her mother. She’s a really great kid so I don’t have to tell her to do anything. And if she does need someone to tell her what to do while she is with us, that would be coming from her dad not me. My job is to treat her with love and kindness and be there if she ever needs me or wants to come to me with anything.

      • Twin Falls says:

        Same. A healthy step-parent step-child relationship is great but I feel like very few adults are capable of knowing where that space is and it is NOT a second Mom/Dad unless it evolves into that over time. And it doesn’t come from the other parent thinking things are great.

        The sunshine he blows up her ass is gross and, well, I just feel for his kids.

      • Kirsten says:

        I think there’s a difference though between acting as though you’re their only parent and acting as a parent to all of the children in the household. Gabrielle Union talked about this and said essentially that you’re not going to replace their biological parent (even if that person isn’t in the picture), but that you need to be consistent — whatever you’re going to be like, always be that person.

        And I think that’s what Gwyneth means here: that she wishes she’d behaved consistently from day 1.

      • Frnk27 says:

        I think Gwenie is confusing motherhood with the basic ability to set rules and boundaries. She seems like she was so focused on them liking her she forgot to be the adult. Then one day she blew her top and they are celebrating this? That has to be confusing for the kids.

  3. Annaloo. says:

    Never seen Star Wars?! Wow

    • SAS says:

      Lol as someone who has never seen Star Wars (or Lord of the Rings), I found it much more shocking that someone has never seem Jaws!

  4. Kokiri says:

    No thank you.
    Dealing with your parents splitting, then a whole new person trying to parent you?
    Not for me.
    Ok, i carry a lot of trauma from how my father handled a new step mother “i live my life for her now”, is just one he said.

    I admit I could be different for others.
    Can’t see it though. Why not just be respectful, treat and kids with dignity?

    I feel a bit triggered 😭

    ETA: i thought about it more: it should be up to the kids to path a new relationship with any new partners. Especially when it comes to discipline.

  5. Queen Meghan's Hand says:


    THEE Sunset Boulevard????

    • 2lazy4username says:

      My partner and I are talking about blending families in the next year or so. Ultimately, my kid has two perfectly great parents, and his kids have two perfectly great parents. In our view, this just leaves us both with the opportunity to build relationships that hopefully offer additional love and support in our respective kids’ lives, and leaves the parenting to the parents.

      Being a stepmom (and stepdad, but maybe not as much?) can be a tricky thing. It includes all of the physical and emotional labor of real parenting, with none of the agency. With blended families sadly failing roughly 70% of the time, it’s important to proactively work out boundaries, expectations and roles before taking the plunge, with *all* involved, which is what we are trying to do now.

  6. Lurker25 says:

    Is that… Shiplap??

  7. jferber says:

    Cardi B does a great job with Offset’s kids from 3 other relationships. She says blended family IS family and she grew up with her half-brothers and half-sisters as brothers and sisters. I just saw Offset on The Hype (a reality show I LOVE) with 4 of his 5 kids. Beautiful to see. I always tend to side-eye Goop, but whatever.

  8. AMA1977 says:

    I have no experience in this arena as I am not a stepmom and did not have a stepmom, but I know kids pretty well, I think, and there are kids who would be open to being “parented” and kids that would NOT. For example, I think if anything ever happened to my husband (I hope not!) and I remarried (also, I hope not!) my kids (10 and 15) would have issues with a new adult parenting them. I KNOW my little one would be the “YOU’RE NOT MY DAD!!!” kid, I can hear her now, lol.

    I hope she’s saying “I love them like my own and treat them that way” not “when they’re at my house I’m ‘mom’.” Because it’s Goop, who knows? She thinks she’s the best at EVERYTHING.

    I want to know why that dinner table is set for 5 people yet contains enough food for 12. That’s at least 2 loaves of garlic bread. Does Goop even EAT bread? Bread is peasant food. 😂

    • Kirsten says:

      I think it really depends on what you mean by parenting here. Because the new spouse coming into a household with children is now a parent. And unless the expectation is that this person simply won’t interact with and do anything for your children (in which case, why marry them?), you don’t want a situation in which the new spouse is treated like household help. IE, you’re good enough to drive the kids around and pay for things, but you don’t really count as a family member in a meaningful way.

      There’s a big difference between being a parent (and taking on all of the blessings, responsibilities, and challenges that come with that), and trying to be a replacement parent.