HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Before she became an Oscar-winning actress, Gwyneth Paltrow suffered the same fate as so many other aspiring stars – a proposition to get cozy on the "casting couch."
"When I was just starting out, someone suggested that we finish a meeting in the bedroom," the 38-year star tells Elle magazine in its Women in Hollywood issue. "I left. I was pretty shocked. I could see how someone who didn't know better might worry, 'My career will be ruined if I don’t give this guy a blow job!' "
Paltrow has come a long way since that early experience, with roles ranging from Shakespeare in Love to Iron Man. While she now has some Hollywood clout, Paltrow confesses to still feeling "dejected" about the roles being offered to women today.
"There's a lot that’s okay, but there's little that's really good, especially for someone my age," she says. "Sometimes you find out that something you really liked is going to someone 10 years younger. I find it heartening that Meryl Streep and Sandra Bullock have been able to find and create amazing projects."
A proud mother of two children with husband Chris Martin, Paltrow also admits that balancing work with motherhood can be "really hard."
"One night in Nashville, my son was screaming with a terrible stomachache," recalls Paltrow, who was in town filming her upcoming movie Country Strong. "I was like, 'I have to get out of here!' but we had to finish. My friend Jenno, a mother of three who was producing, was great, reminding me that nine times out of 10, they just have gas."
Also see: Gwyneth Paltrow Photos