Gwyneth Paltrow says she initially turned the role because she was having a "really hard time"

By Rachel DeSantis
February 19, 2019 11:12 AM

Gwyneth Paltrow nearly turned the role that won her an Oscar because of her rough breakup with Brad Pitt.

Paltrow, 46, scored a Best Actress Academy Award in 1999 for Shakespeare in Love — but the actress says her broken heart initially caused her to reject the role.

“The movie had many iterations. Julia Roberts was going to do it for a long time, and then that version fell apart. It ended up in Miramax, and I was the first person they offered it to,” Paltrow told Variety.

“I was in the middle of a terrible breakup [with Pitt] and the idea of going to England and being far from home just seemed… I didn’t even read it. I was just like, ‘I can’t read anything right now. I’m having a really hard time.’”

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Marion Curtis/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

Pitt, 55, and the Goop mogul were engaged in December 1996, and went their separate ways in 1997.

Paltrow has since recalled their time together fondly, telling Howard Stern in May that Pitt once threatened Harvey Weinstein after the disgraced producer allegedly made a pass at her.

“I told him right away and I was very shaken by the whole thing. We were at the opening of Hamlet on Broadway. Harvey was there and Brad Pitt – it was like the equivalent of throwing him against the wall, energetically,” she said. “He said, ‘If you ever make her feel uncomfortable again, I’ll kill you,’ or something like that. It was so fantastic. He leveraged his fame and power to protect me at a time when I didn’t have fame or power yet.”

Paltrow first opened up about her experience in a New York Times report, adding her name to a long list of women who have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment. Weinstein has denied the allegations of nonconsensual sex and retaliation.

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The actress also joked on Instagram last month that all of Pitt’s exes do their best to emulate his style.

“Or we like to look like him, let’s face it,” she wrote on a post bearing the headline, “Brad: The man who likes to look like his girlfriend.”

As for her famous Shakespeare role, Paltrow told Variety that once she actually got around to reading the script, she was sold, despite an agent who told her it was “more of a guy’s part.”

Gwyneth Paltrow in Shakespeare in Love

“I just couldn’t put it down,” she said. “It was perfect.”