In his Editor’s Letter from the March Hollywood Issue, Graydon Carter addresses long-running rumors that Vanity Fair has been working on an “epic takedown” of Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow. While the full version of the letter—including details about the original assignment by contributing editor Vanessa Grigoriadis and an assessment of Hollywood’s reaction—is only available in the March issue, an excerpt below sheds light onto one of the most buzzed-about stories of 2013:
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. What to do? I decided to sit on it for a time.
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. 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.