Just because Vanity Fair chose to go easy on Gwyneth Paltrow doesn't mean editor-in-chief Graydon Carter didn't take a shot at the Oscar-winning actress – and get one back in return.
Gawker reports that the "epic takedown" of Paltrow that was supposed to run in the annual Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair simply never came to pass.
In fact, now that the March edition of the magazine has hit newsstands, the only reportage involving Paltrow in the issue is a tepid exploration of her love-hate relationship with Hollywood penned by contributing editor Vanessa Grigoriadis.
All of which runs contrary to reports last fall claiming Paltrow had anxiously e-mailed dozens of her friends imploring them to boycott Vanity Fair and "never do this magazine again."
Most reports at the time depicted Paltrow as a controlling harridan desperate to keep the details of her life private, including an alleged dalliance with Miami billionaire Jeff Soffer (who also happens to be the husband of supermodel Elle Macpherson).
Never one to back off from a tasty celebrity contretemps, Carter told his side of the story in the March issue's Editor's Letter.
In his words: "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. And I thought it perfectly explained the whole phenomenon. But it was 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."
At which point Carter decided to exercise his editor's prerogative: "What to do? I decided to sit on it for a time," he writes.
But wait, the plot thickens. While Carter was sitting on the Paltrow piece, he received a phone call.
"In October, Gwyneth called me," his note continues. "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. She replied that I had put on much more than that. Which I thought was fair and funny."
And touché, Gwyneth.
Unavoidably, news of the Paltrow-Vanity Fair truce slowly trickled out to gossip sites. "We received more mail, much of it now criticizing us for caving," Carter writes.
Carter also cites tabloid reports that Paltrow had convinced George Clooney to not appear on the magazine's cover (not true) and that she had attempted to scuttle Vanity Fair's annual Oscar party by organizing a competing dinner (also not true).
And now that the dust has settled, what is left for Vanity Fair readers to feast upon? Carter himself admits the article published in the March issue (with George Clooney on the cover) will probably only further enrage those people who hate the actress for being too rich, too thin, too perfect and so forth.
Or as he puts it: "The fact is the Gwyneth Paltrow story, the one we ordered up, as delightfully written as it was, is not the one the anti-Gwynethites expect."
That's game, set, match, Ms. Paltrow.