Over the past two years, Coldplay's Chris Martin has orchestrated big hits, weathered a public divorce from Gwyneth Paltrow and managed to keep a low profile all the while. Now he's opening up in a big way. In an insightful new cover story in the latest issue of Rolling Stone (on newsstands Friday, February 12th), he discusses all the highs and lows that have shaped his recent years, as well as how he's learned to live with the haters and steer his band back toward bright, pop-rock hit-making with their recent, triumphant album A Head Full of Dreams.
Martin also talks about the excitement he felt leading up to what would be Coldplay's biggest concert ever – the Super Bowl 50 halftime show – as he trained physically and plotted just how Bruno Mars and Beyoncé would play their roles onstage. "To me, that's the climax of everything," he says.
Some of the highlights from this revealing cover story include:
He remains friendly with Gwyneth Paltrow.
"I have a very wonderful separation-divorce," he says. "It's a divorce – but it's a weird one." He also looks at the word "divorce" with more fluidity than most people. "I don't think about that word very often," he said. "I don't see it that way. I see it as more like you meet someone, you have some time together and things just move through."
He's open to constructive criticism, especially from Beyoncé.
Martin once presented a song to Beyoncé called "Hook Up" and played it in the studio for her and producer Stargate. She turned it down, he says, "in the sweetest possible way: She told me, 'I really like you – but this is awful.'"
He's open to new music – and dance trends.
Martin's children recently put him onto Silentó's "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)." "I'm not sure if I can whip, but I can nae nae with the best of them," he reveals.
He draws inspiration from the movie Rocky IV.
"Rocky IV has the most awesome training sequence of all time," he says. "I think it triggers the young boy in me who saw it and was like, 'Wow – if you wanna do something, just fucking lift logs!'" The movie has also guided his post-vegetarian diet: "If Rocky eats it, I do, too."
He's aware you might not be a fan of his band.
"I had a couple of years in the mid-2000s where it was really confusing to me," he says of Coldplay jokes. "I was like, 'Why is our band sometimes a punch line?'"
Also in the issue: The Revenant filmmaker Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the Koch Brothers' fight against solar power, the Beach Boys' Mike Love, a look inside a polygamist cult, Black Sabbath's last ride and more.
Look for the issue on stands or download it on Friday, February 12th.