So much for an "epic takedown." The March Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair has arrived, and while it was rumored to contain a glorious hit piece on Gwyneth Paltrow, it turns out the magazine only features a disappointing exploration of Paltrow's Hollywood "hate/love-fest" written by contributing editor Vanessa Grigoriadis.
Vanessa turned in her story at the end of the summer. And it was just what had been assigned—a reasoned, reported essay on the hate/love-fest that encircles Gwyneth Paltrow. I thought it perfectly explained the whole phenomenon. But it was such a far cry from the almost mythical story that people were by now expecting—the 'epic takedown,' filled with 'bombshell' revelations—that it was bound to be a disappointment," Carter recalls. "What to do? I decided to sit on it for a time.
During this incubation period, an anxious Paltrow called Carter looking for advice because everyone on the internet, as usual, was being mean to her. Carter told her there was only one thing she could do to ensure Americans would like her again: get fat.
In October, Gwyneth called me. We talked for about 20 minutes about the story and her reaction, or over-reaction, to it. At one point, she asked my advice as to what to do to get the "haters" on her side. I suggested putting on 15 pounds. I joked that it works for me. She replied I had put on much more than that. Which I thought was fair and funny.
Good one, Gwyneth. Congratulations on your first joke.
Two months after the phone call, Web sites lit up with news of a truce. We received more mail, much of it now criticizing us for caving. There had also been conflicting reports that Gwyneth had coerced George Clooney into not being on our cover—clearly not true. There were reports that she was trying to scuttle our annual Oscar party, that she was going to organize a competing dinner. The Paltrow camp subsequently denied both claims.
Now Carter admits that the published piece will mostly just piss off "anti-Gwynethites."
The fact is the Gwyneth Paltrow story, the one we ordered up, as delightfully written as it was, is not the one the anti-Gwynethites expect. That it has generated more mail and attention than many of the biggest stories we've ever published only makes the situation more complicated . . .
So I guess this is Carter's way of letting readers know the magazine will not feature tales of Paltrow allegedly fucking Miami billionaire (and Elle MacPherson's husband) Jeff Soffer. This is the most disappointing, sexless non-controversy ever.