Gwyneth Paltrow is getting candid about getting older.
Though the 44-year-old actress seems to defy age, in a new interview with W magazine, she opens up about learning to appreciate her beauty as she ages -- and the moment she realized she was "a middle-aged lady."
"I think we're all taught that looks are something we have to rely on and in some ways are a measure of our worth. We hang onto the messaging until you start to get wrinkles and then you're like, 'Oh, wait a minute,'" she says, before describing the moment she was able to break free from that message.
"About two years ago I was driving somewhere and this really attractive young guy was next to me in his car. He was probably 28, and I looked at him and literally it was like he looked right past me," she shares, laughing. "Like, there was no, 'There's a pretty girl in that car.' I was like, 'Holy sh*t, he just saw a middle-aged lady in a car.' I swear it was so fascinating."
Though she may be "a middle-aged lady" to some, Paltrow has learned to feel beautiful by accepting herself, something she says is not so easy for women to do.
"Especially as women, [we] grow up in a culture in which there's a right way to look and a wrong way to look, but I think there's a really beautiful thing that happens with age, which is that you start to understand and categorize beauty in a different way," she explains. "You really do see that it's an internal process."
"Accepting yourself and feeling beautiful really has so little to do with the outside and with measurable pulchritude. If you really like yourself, you really feel beautiful. For a lot of women, life forces us into that point of view, but it's such a beautiful lesson to be forced into," she adds.
ET sat down with Paltrow last March, where she revealed that she doesn't "feel pressure to look young."
"I feel like I've earned my wrinkles, and I'm very proud of everything that I've gone through in life -- both good and bad," she said. "I don't want to be 26, I would never want to go back there, ever," she said with a smile. "I think what we want to do is look our best as we age gracefully."