How Did Gwyneth Paltrow Start Acting? She Calls 1 Teenage Experience Her ‘Early Acting School’

Though formerly a highly respected actor in Hollywood, Gwyneth Paltrow is better known for her wellness company, Goop, these days. Though she occasionally appears in series such as The Politician, the celebrity’s focus has shifted. But she recently gave some insight into what led her to a big-screen career.

Gwyneth Paltrow broke out as the star of ‘Emma’

Following a handful of small film roles in the ’90s, including Hook and Se7en, Paltrow made her mark as the titular character in the comedy Emma. In 1998, she starred in multiple major movies, including Sliding Doors and Shakespeare in Love. The latter earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress.

Her rise to prominence at the turn of the century made Paltrow the it-girl of the early ’00s. She starred in more high-profile projects, including Bounce, The Royal Tenenbaums, Shallow Hal, and Sylvia. While her performances were still praised, several of her films around this time garnered mixed reception.

She went on to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Paltrow’s status led to a role in the then-unestablished Marvel Cinematic Universe. She starred as Pepper Potts, assistant (and later, love interest) of Tony Stark in Iron Man. Paltrow reprised her role in both of the movie’s direct sequels and made small appearances in other MCU entries, such as Avengers: Endgame.

Though playing a prominent side character, Paltrow wasn’t a part of doing press for films outside of the Iron Man series. A clip of her telling Spider-Man: Homecoming co-star Jon Favreau she “wasn’t in Spider-Man” from his 2019 Netflix series The Chef Show blew up, with others later clarifying she may have mixed up movies.

Paltrow has ‘quit’ acting multiple times

RELATED: Every Time Gwyneth Paltrow Has Claimed She Is Done With Acting (but Isn’t)

Paltrow forgetting that she was in Homecoming shows how little focus she’s had on acting in recent years. Aside from the MCU movies, she’s been in just three films released in the past decade: the thriller Contagion, the dramedy Thanks for Sharing, and the action-comedy Mortdecai.

So did Paltrow really quit acting? Not exactly. Though she’s addressed the subject several times in interviews and given varied responses, she keeps returning to smaller roles. However, her days of headline major motion pictures appear to be well behind her. “I’m not sure how I’ll feel about acting going forward,” she told Extra in 2017.

She says that she ‘honed’ her craft as a teenager

Gwyneth Paltrow in 1993
Gwyneth Paltrow in 1993 | Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Coming from a show business family, Paltrow first appeared in a 1989 TV movie directed by her dad, Bruce Paltrow. Soon after, she made her stage debut at a theater festival frequented by her mother, Blythe Danner. But Paltrow says she was acting even earlier than this, in her own way.

When talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel asked Paltrow if she ever made prank calls as a teenager, she replied, “Beyond. It’s how I honed my whole acting thing. I would call with all these different accents and try to not break and laugh. I think it was my early acting school.” She even says that she taped “so many” of these calls.