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Whether you know her from her acting career, such as her role as Pepper Potts in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or you’re primarily a fan of her wellness company, Goop, most people have heard of Gwyneth Paltrow.

She’s garnered a ton of attention over the years, for reasons as diverse as winning an Academy Award and making product claims so inaccurate that NASA called her out. But you may not know how much she loves Spain – or why she adores the country so much. 

A trip to Spain changed Gwyneth Paltrow’s life

Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow | Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

When Paltrow was only 15 years old, she took a trip to Spain. According to Today, that trip altered the course of her life. While she was there, she fell in love with the country and its culture. 

“It is so different from the United States. It seemed to have a history, and the buildings are years and years and years old,” she explained. “Also, the way people live over there. They seem to enjoy life a little bit more. They aren’t running around as much as in New York. They enjoy time with the family.”

She may have been only a teen at the time, but she recognized the place she stayed in, a small town outside Talavera de la Reina, as a special place, and Spain became a second home to her. 

To this day, Paltrow remains close to the family that hosted her during that long-ago trip. She refers to them as her Spanish mother and Spanish brothers. 

Paltrow couldn’t leave Spain behind


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When Paltrow returned home, she continued to be captivated by Spain. She studied Spanish, and she became fluent. Years later, when she became a mother, she spoke Spanish to her children, Apple and Moses, so they could grow up with a grasp of the language. She takes her family to visit Spain once a year.

Early on as she was establishing her unusual wellness empire Goop, Paltrow set up a Spanish language version of the website. But according to The Guardian, that isn’t even close to the biggest connection between Goop and Spain.

Paltrow posts a Christmas gift catalog on Goop’s website, known as the Ridiculous But Awesome Gift Guide. In 2018, the guide offered an abandoned village in Spain for the bargain price of $172,910. 

Of course, one of the big factors in Paltrow’s enduring Spanish love affair is the food, and it’s taken her on quite the journey. 

Taking a Spanish road trip for the food

Food & Wine reports that in 2014, well-known chef Mario Batali mentioned to Paltrow that he was about to start filming a project with fellow foodie Mark Bittman. They planned to travel through Spain, on the hunt for the very best food and wine. What Batali didn’t expect was for Paltrow to ask to come along. 

Given her familiarity with the country and the fact that she is fluent in Spanish, Paltrow was a natural choice to join the project. The three food lovers traveled all over Spain, eating and drinking to their heart’s content, and filming a 13-part series about the experience for PBS.

The show led to Paltrow writing her first book. She and Batali put together Spain: A Culinary Road Trip based on their trip.

15-year-old Paltrow could never have imagined all the ways her trip to Spain would change her life as she grew older. The experience has extended far beyond one joyful memory; it has brought her happy times and delicious food in many other ways as the years go by.