"What people are surprised about me, when they meet me or work with me or hang out with me, is I have a really, really, really dirty sense of humor," Paltrow told CNN in a recent interview. "People think I'm pretty buttoned-up and prim and proper, but just tell me a joke about balls or something."
When she's not laughing, Paltrow keeps things pretty clean. She credits her fit figure -- and recent Women's Health cover -- to her friend, business partner and trainer, Tracy Anderson
"That [cover] is honestly because of her. I would've never had the confidence to do that 20 years ago or 10 years ago, before I met her [Anderson]," Paltrow said. "I'm very devoted to her because her methodology and all the research behind it is, it just works."
Anderson, who opened her latest fitness studio in New York on Tuesday, compared her partnership with Paltrow to a supportive "sisterhood."
"Neither of us want to dim each other's light in any way," Anderson told CNN. "We truly have each other's back in the best way."
Paltrow developed her collaborative career approach as a young adult, with some advice from her mother, actress Blythe Danner.
"She was talking about acting but she said, 'You know, 'don't ever be competitive with other actresses. If you don't get a part, it means that it's not your part. You didn't fail, she didn't beat you, it's just not yours. So, just focus on who you are as an artist and what you are here to do,'" Paltrow recalled. "Honestly, I take that with me through my business life."
Through her lifestyle publication GOOP
, Paltrow has shared her appreciation for healthy eating and the value of exercise. But she also advocates for a little gluttony.
"I'm so focused on optimization, always, but I think what sometimes gets lost in that picture is that it's really important to eat french fries and baguettes," Paltrow said. "Life is about balance and enjoyment and loving your food and appreciating the moment."
Even Anderson, who works out seven days a week, indulges in pizza on occasion.
"I ate pizza yesterday," she laughed. "I believe in healthy, clean, eating -- but I also believe in ice cream. For me, it's a really balanced equation."
For both women, good living is ultimately measured in friendship and family.
Paltrow, who was very close to her late father Bruce Paltrow, imparted some of his insight.
"He always just said to me, 'Family is everything," Paltrow remembered. "It's so true. If you are fortunate enough to have your own family, it's the most uplifting, wonderfully challenging experience that makes life very full."