Gwyneth Paltrow Reveals Jack Nicholson Once Asked Her Out But She Had a Boyfriend

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Gwyneth Paltrow
Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

Gwyneth Paltrow is reflecting on how winning the 1999 Best Actress Oscar for Shakespeare in Love changed her life forever.

In an interview with Variety, the 46-year-old actress recalls the magical moment, including Jack Nicholson presenting her with the award. Paltrow says she and 81-year-old Nicholson actually had a little bit of history prior to him announcing her big win. 

“Jack Nicholson gave it to me,” Paltrow remembers. “There’s a funny story where he’d been trying to ask me out before, and I was like, ‘I have a boyfriend!’” 

Though she doesn't name the boyfriend, Paltrow was previously engaged to Brad Pitt before they split in 1997, then later dated Ben Affleck.

The magazine notes that it wasn’t awkward that she’d turned Nicholson down, and that when she forgot to take the envelope from him, he even sent it to her with a thoughtful note.

 “I have it framed," Paltrow says.

The actress also talks about her legendary pink Ralph Lauren Oscars dress -- which she chose herself since she didn't have a stylist -- and why it constantly had to get adjusted.

“Every time I would go have a fitting, I would lose six pounds, because I was just so nervous,” she shares. “I’m one of those people, when I’m nervous I can’t eat.” 

On a more sobering note, Paltrow recalls her relationship with disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein at the time, who was then the head of Miramax and is widely credited with designing the film's surprising Oscars success, including its Best Picture win. Paltrow had worked with Weinstein before on 1996's Emma, and later accused him of placing his hands on her and asking for a massage in his hotel room in an interview with The New York Times. Weinstein has denied any legal wrongdoing. 

“I had one really uncomfortable, weird experience; then he was never inappropriate with me again in that way,” Paltrow says about deciding to work with him again. “ ... He was a bully. 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.” 

“He was a very difficult boss,” she continues. “It was a fraught relationship. We would get in knock-down, drag-out fights. I remember once, my mother [Blythe Danner] walked in a room, and I was yelling at him about something. She was like, ‘Who was that on the phone?’” When Paltrow told her, she responded, “Oh, my goodness, good for you. Stand up for yourself.”

One major issue they argued over was casting. Paltrow herself wasn't always attached to play Viola in Shakespeare in Love -- both Julia Roberts and Kate Winslet had been considered at one point -- and she initially turned it down due to her still dealing with her split from Pitt and not wanting to be away from home while filming in England. Paltrow says Weinstein was also not fully on board with Joseph Fiennes to play Shakespeare, and actually wanted Affleck -- who played a smaller part -- to take over. 

“I said, ‘No, you can’t do that. You have to have an English person,''" she says about intervening.

As for Weinstein's involvement in the film and what it means for its legacy, Paltrow says the movie stands up on its own.

“It’s a beautiful film,” she says. “A movie is not going to be successful if it’s not a good movie, not like that.”

The movie has definitely had a lasting impact on Paltrow, and she reveals it even came up again in her wedding to producer Brad Falchuk last September.

"In my husband’s wedding vows, he actually said it’s no coincidence that I played this muse, because that’s who I am to him, and his perception is that’s who I am in real life," she says. "It was really sweet.”

These days, Paltrow is more focused on her lifestyle business, Goop, and admits to not having seen all of the films nominated for Best Picture this year, despite being an Oscar voter. Paltrow says she doesn't even know what The Favourite is, the critically acclaimed period piece starring Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone. She says she's only seen A Star Is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody, both with her children -- 14-year-old daughter Apple and 12-year-old son Moses.

“I better get busy,” Paltrow notes. “I usually end up watching the ones that I’m supposed to watch. But this year I’m a little bit behind, apparently.”

Meanwhile, for more on Paltrow's wedding to Falchuk, watch the video below:

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