Gwyneth Paltrow, Marie Claire

Jan Welters/Marie Claire

No one said conscious uncoupling would be easy.

Of course, not many people used the phrase "conscious uncoupling" until actress Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin announced their split in March 2014. The amicable exes are still very much a part of each other's lives, and not just for the sake of their two children. Describing the demise of her marriage, Paltrow tells the February 2015 issue of Marie Claire, "There was nothing dramatic or anything. I had built my life on trying to be all things to all people, and I just couldn't do it anymore, and I really had the sense that I wasn't allowed to have needs, and I had to prove my specialness or self-worth by doing all this stuff and taking care of everybody else, and I just sort of hit a wall."

Where do they stand today? "We've worked really f--king hard to get to [this] point," Paltrow says. "But we're very, very close, and it's so nice. I feel like it's, in a way, the relationship we were meant to have."

Though she and Martin have learned to co-parent their kids both together and apart, Paltrow has since realized that being a single mom is no easy feat. And though her comments about working mothers once caused controversy, Paltrow now sympathizes with parents who don't have the same advantages she does. "I think we are all genuinely doing our best," the Mortdecai star says of balancing motherhood with her work commitments. "It's hard to have children and a career, and all some women seem to do is judge other women's choices. I find that demoralizing and unhelpful. Where is the wisdom coming out of this situation? I don't see where this is getting us anywhere in terms of a cultural discussion."

When it comes to work, the Goop founder says, "I know what I want to do, and I'm going to do it. I don't care so much about the men, but I wish that women were slightly more understanding of other women." Without naming names, she also addresses her Martha Stewart feud, saying, "A lot of women reporters try to pit me against other women doing entrepreneurial things. There's room for everybody."

Gwyneth Paltrow, Marie Claire

Jan Welters/Marie Claire

Paltrow works hard for the money, and she would like to see more women in charge. "I'm in meetings with investment bankers, VC firms, private equity firms—you name it, across the board, men," she says.

"Women in 30 minutes can get more accomplished than men in two hours," she argues.

The February 2015 issue of Marie Claire is on newsstands Jan. 13.

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