Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Pitt still friends: How to be mates with an ex

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·Contributor, Yahoo Life UK
·5-min read
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Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Pitt have revealed they are still friends after breaking up over 20 years ago, pictured together in March 1997. (Getty Images)
Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Pitt have revealed they are still friends after breaking up over 20 years ago, pictured together in March 1997. (Getty Images)

Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Pitt have revealed they still love each other and are glad to be friends more than 20 years after they split up.

The former couple, who became engaged in 1996 but later called off the marriage in 1997, were reflecting on their relationship in a recent interview.

Sitting down for a conversation, which featured on Paltrow’s brand Goop’s website, the two recalled Pitt’s relationship with her father Bruce Paltrow.

While speaking to her ex, the star brought up her late father, Bruce Paltrow, who died in 2002, and acknowledged how much he liked Pitt.

“I’ll never forget when we were engaged and he came to me one day, his eyes full of tears, and he said, 'You know, I never really realised what they mean when they say you’re gaining a son. Like, I’m gaining a son,'” she said.

Paltrow went on to acknowledge that the couple “didn’t get married, unfortunately,” to which Pitt responded: "Oh man everything works out, doesn’t it?"

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Paltrow, who is now married to producer Brad Falchuk, agreed.

“Yes, it does. I finally found the Brad I was supposed to marry. It just took me 20 years."

The Fight Club star went on to note how he appreciates the friendship he now has with Paltrow.

“And it’s lovely to have you as a friend now,” he said, to which the wellness entrepreneur responded: “It is.”

“And I do love you,” Pitt added, before Paltrow agreed, adding: “I love you so much.”

The former couple have revealed they still have love for each other, pictured in March 1996. (Getty Images)
The former couple have revealed they still have love for each other, pictured in March 1996. (Getty Images)

The recent interview with the former couple suggests Pitt and Paltrow have managed to successfully transition from partners to pals, but it isn't always an easy switch to make.

"When it comes to remaining friends with an ex, it's not always something that's possible or wanted," explains psychologist and wellbeing consultant, Lee Chambers.

"Even when there is a desire from both sides to foster friendship, it doesn't come without its challenges."

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Chambers says common struggles include not having clarity and joint understanding on what constitutes friendship and the boundaries required, the intention of keeping connected being different, external perspectives and pressures, unresolved issues being suppressed and navigating future relationships.

But despite certain difficulties, there can be many plus points to maintaining a positive relationship between former partners and moving from lovers to friends.

"Cultivating a friendship with an ex can be beneficial, especially if you had been friends previously, as this makes it much more likely you can have a productive friendship," Chambers explains.

"When children are involved, a friendship with an ex can also make for better co-parenting and role modelling for them."

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According to Chambers, former partner friendships can also boost our self-awareness.

"Exes tend to know each other's intricacies and can learn from what didn't work to build a stronger friendship while learning how we can move on romantically," he explains.

"A transition to friendship also provides closure on a relationship, which can provide security, important for wider wellbeing."

Despite there being many benefits of making the move from romance to really good mates, new research found it isn't always possible with just 8% of those who have an ex partner remaining friends with ALL of their former flames.

Meanwhile, half (51%) aren't friends with any of their previous partners and around a third (37%) say they are friends with one or some, but not others.

Interestingly, men are more likely than women to say they are friends with at least one of their ex-partners (51% of men versus just 40% of women).

It seems women are keener to move on when a relationship ends, as more than half of women (56%) say they aren't friends with any of their exes, compared to 45% of men.

Read more: How to get more matches on your dating profile

It can be difficult transitioning from lovers to friends post break-up. (Getty Images)
It can be difficult transitioning from lovers to friends post break-up. (Getty Images)

How to be friends with an ex

When it comes to forging that friendship, Chambers says it can take time to form and involves some distancing from the romantic connection.

It's also important to ensure that both sides have moved beyond romance and that friendship is a shared desire.

"A friendship will look different to the previous relationship," Chambers explains. "Boundaries should be set around communication, what you share, how much energy and emotion you expend and how you will be when you're together."

It is also important to note that a friendship between former partners should feel good, and add value to each of you, and that also comes with times where you need to create space.

"Not all friendships last, but if you start with a clear idea of what friendship will be, especially if you are co-parenting, it can add a richness to life that your relationship wasn't able to, and continue to grow together on different paths," Chambers adds.

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