/A very humbled Gwyneth Paltrow accepts amfAR honor, speaks of finding courage after 40

A very humbled Gwyneth Paltrow accepts amfAR honor, speaks of finding courage after 40

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USA TODAY

LOS ANGELES – Gwyneth Paltrow said she didn’t have a speech prepared for the 10th annual amfAR Gala, despite the fact that she knew she’d be honored on Thursday night.

“I don’t think I really believe in thank you speeches,” the Oscar winner (who didn’t have anything prepared when she won at the Academy Awards in 1999, either) told attendees at the event for the late Elizabeth Taylor’s organization that funds research to find a cure for HIV and AIDS. “But I did want to thank amfAR for this.”

Paltrow was honored with an Award of Courage for her staunch support of amfAR and other humanitarian causes, and used her brief time at the microphone to speak off the cuff about her personal mission to be more courageous.

“I think since I’ve turned 40 I’ve sort of found the courage to be really who I am and speak from the truest place,” said the actress, entrepreneur and philanthropist, now 47. “And so it’s something that I’ve been thinking about lately.”

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Earlier this year, Paltrow emphasized this idea when she told People, “I think there is this incredible freedom that comes with a woman in her 40s and understanding that this is who I am and I’ve stopped worrying so much about what people think of me.”

In Paltrow’s three-minute amfAR speech – to a room of guests including Christina Aguilera (who later gave a rousing musical performance), Alan Cumming (who served as MC), Paris Jackson and Eva Longoria – she mentioned that finding a cure for HIV/AIDS means more to her now than ever before.

“As a mother coming into a time with teenagers, it all hits home in a very different way,” she said.

Paltrow also delivered plenty of thank yous, including one to her “beautiful husband” Brad Falchuk.

“I feel very humbled and very undeserving and very appreciative,” she said. “I believe so much in amfAR’s work and have done and will do whatever I can to keep supporting the work until there is a cure for HIV and AIDS, which is especially prescient right now.” 

Indeed, Paltrow did contribute to the $1 million in amfAR Gala donations by offering up her own unusual auction item: The opportunity to have a professional photographer shoot a portrait with Paltrow, and to attend Paltrow’s Goop summit as a VIP guest. Two attendees bid $80,000 each for Paltrow’s prize.

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