Some years back, I remember reading a story in one of the tabs about how Gwyneth Paltrow allegedly came across the script for Shakespeare In Love, the movie for which she won the Oscar, on Winona Ryder's coffee table. The understanding being that the female lead of Viola de Lesseps had been offered to Nonie. That's why she had the script. The two of them were presumably hanging out at Winona's. Back when they were BFF's. Maybe they were smoking cigarettes and having a few glasses of wine as they are in this pix?
Of course, the rest of the story you may already be familiar with - Gwyneth went on to win the Academy Award for Best Actress (for her role as Viola in that movie) and subsequently, have a high profile career as both an actress and lifestyle guru with her series of cook books, her online site Goop (devoted to healthy and holistic luxe living) and her partnership with personal trainer extraordinaire Tracy Anderson. She also married Chris Martin, the lead singer of Cold Play, and had 2 beautiful children. Nice life. Winona? She didn't appear in Shakespeare In Love. In fact, as far as I can remember, after Gwyneth won that award, it was all downhill for our former glamorously goth IT girl.
Unfortunately, what Winona has come to be most well known for nowadays (besides her onetime engagement to Johnny Depp) is having been detained at Saks in Beverly Hills and ultimately, arrested for shoplifting over $5,000 worth of designer merchandise in 2001. Although she wore some appropriately demure Marc Jacobs outfits as well as a headband that Blair Waldorf would covet to the trial and had lawyer to the stars Mark Geragos, she was convicted on all counts. With the exception of a cameo on Friends (that same year) as Rachel's sorority sister and most recently, in 2010, a supporting role in Black Swan, her career never recovered fully from all of that. She's stuck doing interviews now where her sound bites are all about how she doesn't want to be a movie star anymore or how the shoplifting arrest saved her (May 2013, UK Daily Mail). Good grief, that cannot be fun. It's painful to write, let alone say out loud.
I have wondered though what would have happened if Winona had gotten that role in Shakespeare in Love instead of Gwyneth? What if Gwyneth (allegedly) had NOT gotten hold of that script? A true friend would presumably not stab you in the back, by allegedly lifting a script from your living room. Or is all fair in love and Hollywood? I know, I know - Hollywood is cutthroat. It's brutal. I've seen Robert Altman's The Player as well as Robert Evans' The Kid Stays in the Picture multiple times. Yet I still cannot help but think that if Winona had been pal'ing around with Jen Aniston or Claire Danes, she would have had that part, that Oscar and a country estate in England with a rock star husband.
And how about Gwyneth? After dropping Winona like a bad apple at a LA farmer's market, she went on to forge friendships with some of the most influential women in the fields of entertainment, fashion and media, including Madonna (They are now allegedly on the outs, possibly because it was Gwyneth who set Madonna up with her now ex Guy Ritchie.) Beyoncé and Stella McCartney (Daughter of Sir Paul and iconic clothing designer in her own right). Quite the Who's Who if you ask me. When all is said and done, it's actually more of a guest list for the Vanity Fair Oscar party than a friend list.
And Speaking of Vanity Fair - What of Graydon Carter's recent very public feud with Gwyneth after word leaked out that he had planned to publish a revealing expose about her in an upcoming issue of VF? Could he have been playing to address the script stealing rumor? Sadly, we'll never know because the planned expose has been scrapped, but it's a lesson to us all. Don't leave your scripts lying around on the coffee table when having guests over. Sadly, you never know.
Photo Courtesy: Gwyneth Paltrow and Winona Ryder photo, Pinterest