All About Gwyneth Paltrow's Parents, Blythe Danner and Bruce Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow’s parents, Bruce Paltrow and Blythe Danner, are Hollywood royalty

Bruce Paltrow, Blythe Danner & Gwyneth Paltrow
Photo: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

Gwyneth Paltrow's parents, Bruce Paltrow and Blythe Danner, had a true Hollywood romance.

Bruce, a director and producer, and Danner, an actress, met while working on a Broadway play together in 1969, and they married the next year. A few years later, they had two kids — Gwyneth and Jake Paltrow — and huge careers in movies and television.

Danner has a Tony Award and two Emmy Awards, and she has starred in movies like Meet the Parents and its sequels. She also had a recurring guest spot on Will & Grace. Bruce produced and directed shows like St. Elsewhere and was considered one of the most influential producers in Hollywood.

"I still have people who come up to me and say, 'Your husband changed my life,' " Danner told PEOPLE. "He just believed in giving people a leg up and not to hold anybody back."

Bruce was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1999. On Oct. 3, 2002, Bruce died from cancer-related pneumonia. At the time, he and Danner had been married for 32 years.

In 2022, Gwyneth recalled grieving her father at age 30 on the podcast By the Light of the Moon. "The first year was just beyond — I don't know how we all got through it, my mother, my brother and I. It was pretty messed up. Anyone will tell you, who loses a love of their life like that, there's just no other way but through," she said. "You just try to process your grief and keep going." Gwyneth's future husband Chris Martin wrote the Coldplay song "Fix You" for her; they met just three weeks after Bruce's death.

Gwyneth has also said that seeing her dad's "brutal" cancer treatment inspired her research into wellness — which would be the foundation of Goop.

In 2018, Danner underwent treatment for her own oral cancer. "She went through it with so much grace," Gwyneth told PEOPLE. "I was amazed at how strong she was able to be." In 2022, Danner recalled receiving her diagnosis four years earlier, telling PEOPLE: "I remember I looked up at heaven and said to Bruce, 'Are you lonely up there?' It's a sneaky disease. But I'm fine and dandy now. And I'm lucky to be alive."

From their romance and Hollywood careers to how they included their kids in the family business, here's everything to know about Gwyneth Paltrow's parents Bruce Paltrow and Blythe Danner.

They met on Broadway

Blythe Danner & Bruce Paltrow during Meals On Wheels Benefit at Rockefeller Center in New York City, New York, United States
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection/Getty

When they were starting out their careers, both Bruce and Danner worked on stage, Bruce as a producer and director and Danner as an actor. They met while working on the 1969 play Someone's Comin' Hungry and married in 1970, per the Oral Cancer Foundation.

The family relocated to Los Angeles a few years later, and Bruce and Danner began working in film and television. They purchased a six-bedroom home in Santa Monica, California, in 1976, where they raised their children. The house later hit the market in 2022 with a $17.5 million asking price.

They have two kids and four grandkids

Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow/Instagram

Bruce and Danner's daughter Gwyneth was born on Sept. 27, 1972. The couple welcomed Jake Paltrow on Sept. 26, 1975.

Gwyneth has two kids, Apple Blythe Alison and Moses Bruce, with ex-husband Chris Martin. Gwyneth and Martin famously split in what they described as a "conscious uncoupling" in 2014. Jake also has two kids, Whister and Eliel, with his wife, photographer Taryn Simon.

Gwyneth has never shied away from her beginnings as a "nepo baby." In addition to her parents, Gwyneth's godfather is Bruce's lifelong best friend Steven Spielberg, who is also godfather to Drew Barrymore. When InStyle posted an Instagram photo of Hailey Bieber wearing a shirt emblazoned with "nepo baby," Gwyneth commented, "I might need a few of these."

Their kids followed in their footsteps

Jake Paltrow, actress Blythe Danner, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and producer Bruce Paltrow attend "The Prince of Tides" Century City Premiere on December 11, 1991 at Cineplex Odeon Century Plaza Cinemas in Century City, California
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection/Getty

Gwyneth is an Oscar-winning actor and founded the Goop wellness empire. When she won Best Actress in 1999 for Shakespeare in Love, she praised her family in her acceptance speech. "I would not have been able to play this role had I not understood love of a tremendous magnitude, and for that I thank my family. My mother Blythe Danner, who I love more than anything," she said. "And especially to my father Bruce Paltrow, who has surmounted insurmountable obstacles this year. I love you more than anything in the world."

Jake is an actor, writer and director. He appeared in the 2010 film Greenberg, and he has directed episodes of NYPD Blue and Boardwalk Empire. He made his film directorial debut with The Good Night, which starred Gwyneth, in 2007; in 2014, he wrote, directed and produced the film Young Ones. His 2022 film June Zero, about the trial of a Nazi war criminal, was inspired by his father's love of World War II history.

"My father was a World War II history obsessive," he told Variety. "Some of my earliest memories of watching television are of The World at War, which later became something we watched together every year. It was all deeply rooted in his Jewishness."

They have collaborated with their kids

Gwyneth Paltrow, Bruce Paltrow, Blythe Danner and Jake Paltrow at the world premiere of 'DUETS' at the 25th annual Toronto film festival
Evan Agostini/ImageDirect

Bruce's final film, Duets, starred Gwyneth and Huey Lewis. It premiered in 2000 and was filmed the year prior while Bruce was undergoing treatment for throat cancer.

Danner and her daughter worked together on a 1994 production of The Seagull, the 1992 movie Cruel Summer and the 2003 film Sylvia — and Danner hopes it will happen again. "If we can just get her away from Goop and get her back on the screen, that's where I want her," Danner told PEOPLE in 2016. "She's such a phenomenal talent and a great businesswoman of course, but she's such a unique talent as an actress, I'm really hoping and praying she gets back at it."

Bruce died while the family was traveling together

Bruce Paltrow & Gwyneth Paltrow
Jim Spellman/WireImage

Though he was in remission, Bruce fell ill from complications from his cancer treatment in 2002 while the family were in Italy to celebrate Gwyneth's 30th birthday. On Oct. 3, 2002, Bruce died from double pneumonia. He was 58.

On the Armchair Expert podcast, Gwyneth talked about how she chose the date of her 2018 wedding to Brad Falchuk as a way to overcome her grief. "For years, I would go into kind of the deepest depression of all time around my birthday and then I thought, 'I've got to reframe this somehow. My father would not want this for me,' " she said. "My birthday is September 27 and so this past September, I got married on the 29th of September. His ashes are buried under this beautiful tree at my house and we got married there — right near my dad."

Her wedding also had another special connection to her dad. "I had borrowed [these] Harry Winston earrings and necklace for the Oscars, and then after I won, my dad, as a present, surprised me with them," Gwyneth told Vogue in 2021. "I wore the earrings and necklace when I got married to Brad in homage to my dad, as a way of keeping him there with us."

Bruce's death become a point of discussion during Gwyneth's March 2023 Utah ski trial. During her testimony, the Goop founder explained that the 2016 ski trip at the center of the civil court case was particularly sentimental and "significant" for her after her father died. (Gwyneth is being sued by retired optometrist Terry Sanderson, who accused her of colliding with him on the mountain during a February 2016 incident. Gwyneth is countersuing for $1, claiming that Sanderson is the one who ran into her back).

On the stand, Gwyneth recalled how her father was the one to teach her how to ski. "He loved skiing and he had learned later in life, and so he was determined for my brother and I to learn how to ski when we were young," she said. "He used to do these really sweet one-on-one ski trips with us where he would take us to various destinations, and Alta was one of them."

The actress added, "I was pretty devastated by his death, and just being in the ski resort and on a chairlift, it was difficult for me, so I avoided it for a few years until I had my own kids and then I heard his voice in my head, thinking I should teach them how to ski."

Danner hasn't been in a relationship since Bruce died

Gwyneth Paltrow and mother Blythe Danner pose backstage during the opening night of "The Country House" on Broadway at Manhattan Theater Club at The Samuel J. Friedman Theater on October 2, 2014 in New York City
Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

Danner starred in the 2015 film I'll See You in My Dreams, in which she played a widow trying to find love again. Danner shared an on-screen kiss with Sam Elliott, and she was "a little nervous" about filming it, she told PEOPLE. "That was probably the only scene I was a little nervous about … because my husband has been gone for 13 years," she said. "I've had a couple of blind dates, but I haven't had a [serious] date and I'm not really shopping for another relationship."

She added, "As June [Squibb] says [in the film], 'When you've had the best, the heck with the rest,' and that's kind of my attitude about it all."

The family honors Bruce's memory through charity

Bruce Paltrow and Blythe danner at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Performers Nominee reception September 19, 2002
Mathew Imaging/FilmMagic

In 2008, the family started the Bruce Paltrow Fund through the Oral Cancer Foundation. The late actor's eponymous fund specifically supports cancer screenings and awareness in under-resourced communities."I do as much as I can to promote the Oral Cancer Foundation and the Bruce Paltrow Fund," Danner told PEOPLE.

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