Paltrow opens up about trying MDMA, sexuality and more -- as her employees try some wild treatments in the name of the show.
Part infomercial, part glimpse inside Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop empire, "The Goop Lab" dropped Friday on Netflix. The six episodes revolve around the actress, her employees and the sometimes absolutely insane products and practices they promote on Paltrow's lifestyle website.
While Paltrow herself appears in each episode, she only rarely plays guinea pig, leaving some of the more extreme adventures to her allegedly willing staff. During her interviews, however, Paltrow does often chime in with personal anecdotes about growing up and then aging in Hollywood, raising her children and experimenting with drugs.
Below are the most revealing moments from the series.
The first episode was about psychedelics and how they can be used for healing. A handful of Paltrow's staff -- including her assistant, Kevin -- volunteered to go to Jamaica to do mushrooms and have it filmed for the series.
While Gwyneth had never done shrooms herself, she did open up about trying MDMA, otherwise known as Ecstasy or Molly. "I did try it once in Mexico. I never thought of MDMA as a psychedelic and when I took it, I didn't hallucinate, it wasn't a rave," she explained. "It was actually very, very emotional and I was with my then-boyfriend, who's now my husband, and he's a very empathetic, very profoundly wise person and he was able to help me through it."
Though it was filled with a lot of tears and outright sobbing, the mushroom trip seemed to be a positive experience for the employees who participated -- as they said they felt a "physical release" from some of the trauma they had been holding onto.
Self-described "crazy Dutchman" Wim Hof appeared in the second episode, where he introduced the Goop crew to his mind over matter cold exposure and breathing techniques. Her staffers were sent to Lake Tahoe, where they did yoga in the snow before a polar plunge.
Paltrow was familiar with cold exposure, saying son Moses was a fan. "My son can sit in one of your ice baths for 2 minutes," she told Hof. "He started when he was 11 years old. Now he's 13 and he does it a lot."
One of her staffers called the polar plunge "the most insane thing I've been asked to do for Goop," while another called it an "oh f--k moment" that felt like "a changing point" in her life. After learning how to breathe through a panic attack, the employee said she hadn't had another one since and has even tapered off her medications.
Though Paltrow didn't do the plunge, she did try his breathing technique to see if there was a difference between how many pushups she could do. Noting she was on a fast and could "barely walk from Point A to Point B," she still easily did 20 without incident. After the breathing, she pulled off 30. "I feel good ... I thought I was going to pass out, then it kind of passed, you're just focused on the breath and not fainting."
Episode 3 was all about what Paltrow called "our favorite subject, vaginas!" Considering Goop went viral for recommending vaginal steaming and the infamous jade egg, of course they would devote an episode to the female anatomy.
The guest was Betty Dodson, a sex educator who runs naked workshops to help women feel sensual, get over body shame and learn how to really experience pleasure. The episode had no hesitations about highlighting the nude, female form with closeups to really normalize the vulva.
Paltrow thought it was important, once again bringing up her son by referencing his access to pornography and the inauthentic "way women are portrayed" in it. She also talked about learning to accept she was deserving of pleasure and that it's not just something for men to take away from sex.
"The idea that women inherently deserve pleasure, I feel like I'm just at 46 years old starting to knit that together," she said. "I think I was very much raised in an era where it was very much about the guy and trying to look good for the guy and be the cool girl."
She was also asked if being considered a "sex symbol" herself while coming up in Hollywood complicated matters. "I think I shut that out because it's a fiction, it's all a projection, it's really nothing to do with me or the quality of who I am, the good things about me or the bad things about me or my own sexuality, it's all a projection," she explained. "I feel almost very divorced from having that kind of pressure. Maybe when I was younger I probably did."
The episode ended with the CEO of Betty's foundation having an orgasm on camera.
Aging In Hollywood
Paltrow was the most involved in the show's fourth episode, which focused on the different treatments women can do to slow the signs of aging and how diet can lower one's "biological age."
"Whenever someone asks me how old I am, I never think the answer is going to contain a 4. In my mind I was 28 for a really long time," Paltrow said when asked about getting older. "30s are good, 40s are way better. That idea that you're letting go of being identified as a woman of child-bearing age. We live in a culture where that's such a critical component. Something happens when you turn 40, you don't give a f--k. For me, it was incredibly liberating."
Paltrow was younger biologically than chronologically, coming in at 44.2 vs. her actual age of 46. Pointing out that she has "never been vegan" in her life, she was then put on a 5-day fast-mimicking regimen to see if it would lower her bio age. "You guys put me through like the craziest shit," she said of her diet ... after her employees literally did shrooms in the first episode.
Gwyneth's husband, Brad Falchuk, popped up in this episode as her cheerleader when she started to feel "oddly weak" because of her cleanse. "I feel pretty good, other than the fact I feel terrible," she said, before feeling like she was "dying" on Day 5. In the end, the fast lowered her bio age even more, getting her to 42.5.
She also got herself a vampire facial in the episode, where the plasma from one's blood is needled into their face. "I do like that it's my own material," explained Paltrow. "People shoot a lot of weird shit into their face. I think we've seen the overuse of that stuff, sometimes you could look at somebody and you couldn't tell if they were 25 or 55. People want a more natural way."
The fifth episode welcomed both chiropractor/energy healer John Amaral and "Dancing with the Stars" alum Julianne Hough -- who swears by his treatments -- to the show.
Paltrow had a one-on-one session with Dr. Amaral and explained why she was interested in the idea of healing one's energy. "I had an emergency cesarian with my daughter after being in labor for 3 days, it's not a good story, but the cesarian scar is really still -- it's more emotionally painful to me, it doesn't feel like physical pain -- but I feel it like this wound still."
"When our bodies are cut into, we don't think about the energetic planes we're rupturing," she added. "It's more difficult to heal on the energetic level ... those interventions have stayed with me and need care."
The Trouble With Psychics
The final episode of the season saw Paltrow and her staffers interacting with psychic medium Laura Lynne Jackson. Since she's almost always been in the public eye, Gwyneth said she's been skeptical about readings in the past.
"I had one experience with a medium before and it hadn't resonated, I think I'm skeptical," she explained. "I'm like this is Google-able. [Being famous] really complicates, because you can find out anything about me. But when I sat down with Laura, she was saying things that were not Google-able. She knew something my husband didn't even know, I thought, 'Wow, this is real."
She also said she gets scared of her own "intuition" sometimes. "When I had children I was much more comfortable with it and then my mother psychosis feels sometimes like a premonition and it's so terrifying to me," she said. "I'm like, 'Oh my god, this is a premonition something's gonna happen.'"
In one of the series' most wild moments, viewers watched one of Paltrow's employees get a reading from Jackson -- but literally everything the medium said was incorrect. The cameras then cut to one of the show's producers, who was in tears off camera, because Jackson had actually been picking up her energy and realized a message that came through was from her own grandfather who just died.
Paltrow ended the episode by asking "Who is going to be president in 2020?" Jackson, unfortunately, did not answer.
"The Goop Lab" is streaming now on Netflix.