Actress Gwyneth Paltrow revealed new details about her troubled relationship with her former boss and accused serial sexual offender Harvey Weinstein in a new interview with Variety. The star and founder of alternative health and beauty “lifestyle brand” Goop described her relationship with the former Hollywood producer and mogul as “fraught,” and that it led to a lot of screaming matches.
But Paltrow says she never shied away from conflict with one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, even at the start of her career. She was catapulted to fame by her Oscar-winning turn in one of Weinstein’s Miramax films, Shakespeare in Love, in 1998. But even back then Paltrow says a sense of duty and the knowledge that she too wielded a great deal of power kept her in the mix with her former boss.
“He was a bully,” she says, “[but] I never had a problem standing up to him. I wasn’t scared of him. I also felt for a period of time, I was the consumer face of Miramax, and I felt it was my duty to push back against him. We had a lot of fights.”
At the height of the Me Too movement, Paltrow revealed that she too had been a victim of Weinstein’s sleazy come-ons, based in the power differential between up-and-coming actresses and powerful studio heads and directors. She accused Weinstein of inviting her to his hotel room, putting his hands on her, and asking for a massage when she was getting ready to start filming Emma in 1996.
“I had one really uncomfortable, weird experience; then he was never inappropriate with me again in that way,” Paltrow said.
But beyond Weinstein’s alleged history of serial sexual offenses, Paltrow says he was also a terrible boss in other ways. When Weinstein refused to pay her back-end money she was owed for Emma, Paltrow says she had to constantly hound him in order to get paid.
“I got him to pay me something,” she says. “I remember I got this legal letter that said, ‘This is not an acknowledgment that we owe you this money, but here’s a check.'”
Paltrow also reveals that she almost didn’t take the role of Viola in Shakespeare in Love because she was going through a nasty breakup with Brad Pitt at the time. But she eventually decided to take the part, and in doing so, cemented her legacy as one of Hollywood’s elite. She gave a tearful, heartfelt acceptance speech at the 1999 Oscars, and was so flustered she forgot to accept her winning envelope from presenter Jack Nicholson – who, it turns out, had previously been trying to date her when she was still with Pitt.
“I was like, ‘I have a boyfriend!'” Paltrow recalls.
Nicholson later sent her the envelope along with a sweet note, Paltrow says.
“I have it framed,” she added.