GWYNETH Paltrow and Chris Martin sought refuge on a family holiday to the Bahamas yesterday after confirmation the celebrity couple are to split.
The actress and the Coldplay singer decamped to the island of Eleuthera with their children after publishing a statement revealing their decade-long marriage had reached an end.
Their description of the separation as a “conscious uncoupling” – a phrase supplied by Paltrow’s spiritual adviser – attracted derision on social media.
Paltrow and Martin took the unusual step of posting an entry on the actress’s lifestyle website Goop, accompanied by a lengthy essay, co-authored by a healer and a paediatric dentist, which says both parties in a split are actually “partners in each other’s spiritual progress”.
The couple, parents to daughter Apple, nine, and seven-year-old son Moses, said that although they love one another, they wished to “remain separate” and appealed for privacy as they “consciously uncouple and co-parent”.
The choice of phrase also formed the title of the 2,000-word article accompanying the statement, which highlights the positive aspects of divorce.
It was written by Dr Habib Sadeghi, the founder of a Los Angeles-based health centre – Be Hive of Healing – and his wife, Dr Sherry Sami, a specialist in paediatric dentistry.
Paltrow is a follower of Dr Sadeghi’s approach to healing and provided the foreword to his book, Within: A Spiritual Awakening to Love and Weight Loss.
In their essay, Dr Sadeghi and Dr Sami explain that the term conscious uncoupling “brings wholeness to the spirits of both people who choose to recognise each other as their teacher”.
They added: “The gift they receive from their time together will neutralise their negative internal object that was the real cause of their pain in the relationship.
“If we can allow ourselves this gift, our exoskeleton of protection and imprisonment will fall away and offer us the opportunity to begin constructing an endoskeleton, an internal cathedral, with spiritual trace minerals like self-love, self-acceptance, and self-forgiveness.”
Some users of the social media site Twitter poked fun at the description of the break-up. “Conscious Uncoupling would be a great band name,” wrote Hannah Allan, while another user, Rachel Harrison, tweeted: “At first I thought Conscious Uncoupling was going to be the name announcement for their third child.”
Dr Sadeghi and Dr Sami are not the only advocates of the “conscious uncoupling” approach to a relationship ending.
The method was devised by Katherine Woodward Thomas, a marital and family therapist who offers a five-week course in the hope of helping couples change their perspective on the issue of separation.
She promises “powerful rituals you can engage to transform this time of heartache and disappointment into a healing, liberating, and eventually even joyful experience”.
It is possibly not the first time visitors to Paltrow’s website have been left bemused.
Its lifestyle advice is divided into subject areas headlined Make, Go, Get, Do, Be and See.
The site was set up by Paltrow in 2008 to “share all of life’s positives” and “nourish the inner aspect”.
Typical entries include a review of a book by a Buddhist monk praised for its “ability to demystify mindfulness” and detox recipes which recommend starting the day with a glass of room-temperature lemon water.
service Relate said that each couple has their own way of handling a separation, which can involve different ways of referring to it.
Denise Knowles, a Relate counsellor, said: “Every couple will have different ways of approaching separation or divorce and this can include the words they use to describe the separation.
“Divorce may have very different meanings for them based on their beliefs and attitudes, and this is why it’s important for couples to fully understand what has brought them to this point.”