Chris Martin was sick of being afraid. Afraid of love, of life, of success. Just afraid of everything. The Coldplay frontman has been quiet about his split from wife Gwyneth Paltrow so far. But in an interview with BBC Radio 1’s Zane Lowe, Martin finally opened up about what pulled the couple apart, and well, it was mostly fear.
Here are six things we learned from the chat.
1. Grow Up, Dude
Martin said what broke the couple up after 11 years wasn’t exactly a “breakdown,” but more of a moment of clarity. “This was more a realization about trying to grow up basically. Like I said, if you don’t open yourself up, you can’t appreciate the wonder outside,” he said, declining to get too personal. “So you can be with someone very wonderful, but because of your own issues you cannot let that be celebrated in the right way.”
2. It’s On Me
What changed for Martin was that he realized he didn’t want to go through life being scared. Not scared like, ’Dude, that is a HUGE tarantula!’ scared, but the other kind. “I don’t want to go through life being scared of it, being scared of love, being scared of rejection, being scared of failure,” he said. “Ever since our band came out, we’ve been a very polarizing group because we do a certain thing very well … About two years ago I was [like], ’I’m a mess really because I can’t enjoy the thing that we are good at and I can’t enjoy the great things around me because I’m burdened by this.’ I’ve got to not blame anyone else and make some changes.”
3. Why Can’t I Cry?
Despite his constant self-depracation, Martin is kind of awesome at writing songs about epic love, heartbreak and desire, but not if you ask him. “Up to a certain point in my life I wasn’t completely vulnerable and it caused some problems,” he said. “If you don’t let love really in then you can’t really give it back.”
4. Telling Ghost Stories
Coldplay’s new album has a spooky title, but for Martin the collection of songs is really about opening yourself up to love, which sometimes hurts. Like, real bad. “But then it will be great at some point,” he said. “I think in life everyone needs to be broken in some way … I think everyone in their life goes through challenges, whether it’s love or money, kids, or illness … You have to really not run away from that stuff. Life throws these colorful challenges at you.”
5. Real Talk Here
Some artists hate to explain their songs, but Martin isn’t afraid to say that Ghost Stories is an honest account of what the past few years have been like. “What we decided to do on Ghost Stories was to really be honest about it and say, ’This is what’s been happening.'”
6. ’Magic’ Isn’t What You Think
It feels like the recently released song “Oceans” is about a fading love, but Martin said the album’s joyous first single, “Magic,” is about accepting the challenges life gives you. “Although it starts off seeming like a heartbreak record, it’s actually not. It’s a joyful realization that you can’t escape what life’s going to throw at you,” he said. “It’s not a question of you either really love someone or you really hate someone, it’s more nuanced than that. Especially with the modern world’s complications, like traveling and all the stuff that comes to life, and illness and addiction and all that sort of thing … It’s just saying, ultimately, there is magic between two people no matter what anyone else thinks.”
(Begin at 23:58)