Gwyneth Paltrow Credits Madonna with Helping Her Overcome Depression

09/18/2008 at 09:00 AM ET
Big Pictures/Bauer Griffin

In a Wednesday appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Gwyneth Paltrow spoke about her battle with postpartum depression following the birth of son Moses, 2, and how her good friend (and fellow mom!) Madonna ultimately came to her rescue. After welcoming her first child, 4-year-old Apple Blythe Alison, Gwyneth was "on cloud nine" and "living in a bubble" — a phenomenon she characterized as "postnatal euphoria." When Moses arrived, the 35-year-old actress expected more of the same but was devastated when her emotional response had changed. Instead of happiness Gwyneth says she felt disconnected — from herself, and from those around her.

"He came out and I was like, ‘This is really strange. It’s not the same. What’s wrong with me?’ Then, I just went down kind of a slippery slope with it. I didn’t realize what was wrong with me…I wish I had known because I would have gone on medication or addressed it in some way or done something."

One evening over dinner with Madonna — herself mom to Lourdes, 11, Rocco, 8 and David, turning 3 next week — Gwyneth got the perspective she’d been looking for after her friend pointed out that "when obstacles come up in our life, it’s for a very specific reason: to teach us something that we haven’t learned yet." A grateful Gwyneth credits Madonna with helping her to see the "bigger picture" and to view her postpartum depression as "an opportunity to change certain things" about her life. "[Madonna] really sort of reorganized my molecules in that situation," Gwyneth says.

Click ‘more’ to read about Gwyneth’s postpartum weightloss, and her thoughts on Madonna’s children.

Perhaps not surprisingly, when Gwyneth and Madonna get together for playdates, music plays a big part. David likes to perform routines from Madonna’s concerts as her music plays in the background, and Moses prefers to listen to songs by his dad, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin. Madonna’s skills as a mom are unsurpassed, Gwyneth says.

"You can measure somebody by their children ultimately, and these children are phenomenal…They’re very polite. They’re sweet, kind, conscientious."

While some celebrity moms make the return to their pre-baby bodies seem effortless, not so for Gwyneth. Her trim and toned physique is "no accident" and is instead the result of working out two hours a day, six days a week, she told Oprah. During the interview, Gwyneth lamented the "demoralizing" difficulty she had in shedding 20 stubborn pounds left over from her pregnancy with Moses, which only added to her feelings of sadness after his birth. Exercise and a re-commitment to eating well helped lift the clouds, however, and Gwyneth says that the benefits are ongoing — for the whole family. Instead of eating out, Gwyneth — who prides herself on being "very, very involved" in the lives of her children — now feels that "it’s better to just try and make something at home."

"I’m sort of getting into the idea of nourishing your inner aspect and doing that by investing in your family and making a meal and creating time together."

Source: Oprah

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Daze on

Ok Celebrities, news getting slow…2008 was a mega-buster celeb-baby year. Is 2009 going to be dull? We need some news…

Serah on

Adorable kids… That is a great perspective, never thought of that…

Carmen on

I do not believe you can measure someone by their kids (as she said). Parents cannot entirely be held responsible for their kids behavior… There are alot of factors that come into play… genetics, health, the environment, other family members/relatives and most of all friends. I know many children who are the opposite of their parents.

LisaB on

I thik Carmen is reading too much into it. I agree with what she says about measuring someone by their children. I have found nice, polite children tend to have nice, caring parents..where as spoiled and mean children get it from somewhere and that is usually home.

Louise on

What’s so healthy about being unhappy with 20 pounds more than she has now? So she would be depressed having my (normal, not super-skinny) body? I think women, and especially celebrities are doing wrong by judging a weight that is medically perfectly healthy!

Dela on

She also said that her son and Madonna’s son would argue over who’s music to listen to “Daddy’s music” or “Mommy’s music” which is kinda cute!

e on

no matter who you are, i can’t imagine it is easy to mentally and physically adjust to being heavier (whether or not you’re at a healthier weight).

it isn’t unusual for someone who’s been thin all her life to feel sad about an extra 20 lbs. add the weight’s effect on her self-image to PPD as a whole, and it doesn’t seem kind to criticize her.

yogadaisy on

I applaud her for talking about her ppd. It always helps to hear someone talk about it and how they worked their way back.

As for the extra 20 lbs, Gwyneth is obviously a thin person so 20 lbs is quite a lot to be carrying around. Nothing wrong with trying to get back your figure and weight back after two kids!

Oh, and I agree that although there are variances in personalities children usually reflect the parenting they are given.

trullesand on

well she had a c-section with moses, maybe that´s the reason. she couldn´t be there a 100% for the first moments when he was born, so the body (or whatever you call it; some say “continuum”) really missed that bonding. it is indeed depressing when you miss the bonding with your baby.
just my thoughts, don´t want to judge anyone.

Lauren on

“I think women, and especially celebrities are doing wrong by judging a weight that is medically perfectly healthy!”

And I think the fact that you are taking Gwyneth’s personal feelings regarding her own weight and body so personally says far more about you than it does her. I don’t know of one woman who would honestly say that she gained 20 pounds and was happy about it, regardless of the reason. And for someone like Gwyneth who has been skinny all her life and prides herself on a healthy lifestyle, it makes perfect sense for her to find such a weight gain personally unacceptable.
I am just under 5’2, a size 2-4, and in the past month I suddenly put on about 7 pounds for no apparent reason. When I gave it some time and the weight didn’t come off on its own, I began exercising regularly and became more vigilant about watching the types of foods I eat. Point being, just because I am a naturally petite person does *not* mean I should accept putting on extra pounds that don’t make me feel and look my personal best, and I refused to let myself get heavier just because I could have put weight on and “gotten away with it,” so to speak. I say good for Gwyneth for taking control and doing what she can to feel comfortable in her skin. And that bit about Moses and David arguing over whose parents’ music to listen to is too cute. I’m a big Coldplay fan and glad to hear Moses is too!

Carmen on

Lisa B, you are reading into it just as much as me… I hold onto my opinion that parents can’t always be blamed for their childrens behavior. I have seen this many times.

Anais on

Parents are the first people you look to for children who aren’t acting appropriately. And 99% of the time, it’s the parents who start it. That is like a psychological law, almost. After that, it’s up to the child to make the difference. That’s where it counts. But any psychologist or local college psychology professor will tell you that parents are the reasons for a child’s behaviour. If that makes you uncomfortable, sorry, but it’s the truth.

And I’m not a celebrity and I’d probably kill myself if I gained anymore weight. I don’t have a good body image, like most women my age, so yes, I can understand where Gwyn is coming from. Especially for her, where people call you fat to your face instead of behind your back.

Li on

Oh, to be white and privileged…I am only impressed by the NORMAL moms I see juggling all the demands of daily life. Gwyneth grew up wealthy and Madonna has more money than she knows what to do with. They don’t have the same concerns as the rest of us mere mortals. These celebrities just love to go blah, blah, blah like they can really relate to or even care about the rest of us. P.S. Madonna is now just GROSS. Lourdes is lovely though.

Emaline on

Love her, I’m glad she’s getting back in the spotlight, I’ve missed Gwen! Wish we could get to see better pics of Moses <3

brooke on

I’m ot a big gwyneth fan because of the way she comes across on interviews, but 20 extra pounds is a difference to most people so I see her point, especially someone like gwyneth who has always been thin. I’m a healthy person always been into fitness and like lauren said i’m also very petite and i’ve always been small. I am not happy if I were to gain weight, so I eat healthy and workout on a regular basis, it’ds part of my lifestyle. If I look good on the outside it makes me feel good on the inside and most people aren’t happy when they are carrying around an extra 20lbs, that’s a lot it’s not like it’s sat 5lbs.

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