05/19/2005 at 01:00 PM EDT
After Gwyneth Paltrow's father, Bruce, died in October 2002 following a recurrence of throat cancer, the actress battled clinical depression and fought through feelings of guilt at not having done enough for him during his illness, according to a revealing interview published in the May 17 edition of London's Evening Standard.
Speaking openly about her dad's death, Paltrow, 32, told the newspaper that "I was in so much denial for so much of his illness. The thought of life without my father was totally unfathomable to me."
What eventually got her through the grief was the birth of her daughter Apple. "She's been very healing for us – for myself, my brother, my mother," said Paltrow. "For me, the greatest joy before I gave birth to her was the idea that she would be one-quarter my father."
The actress – who spoke to the paper in support of Maggie's Centres, a U.K. cancer charity endorsed by a friend of Paltrow's, artist Sam Taylor-Wood – now has a new outlook on life.
"I'm not as stringent as I was in the past," said Paltrow, who used to adhere to a strict macrobiotic diet. "Now I'll have cheese once in a while or white flour, but I still believe in whole grains and no sugar."
That openness extends beyond just eating. "I am much better at living in the moment," she told the Evening Standard. "I found myself worrying so much less about what I haven't done. Life is here, in this moment, now."