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Gwyneth Paltrow: I'm Proud to Be American

12/04/2006 at 04:00 PM EST

Gwyneth Paltrow: I'm Proud to Be American
Gwyneth Paltrow
Peter Kramer/Getty
Gwyneth Paltrow is "deeply upset" over stories claiming she made anti-American remarks, and tells PEOPLE exclusively that she never said anything against her native country.

"First of all I feel so lucky to be American. When you look at the rest of the world, we're so lucky, and that's something my dad always instilled in me," Paltrow tells PEOPLE. "I feel so proud to be American."

The actress has recently been criticized after she was quoted as telling the Portuguese newspaper Diario De Noticias, "The British are much more intelligent and civilized than the Americans."

"I felt so upset to be completely misconstrued and I never, ever would have said that," says the 34-year-old Oscar winner. "I definitely did not say that I think the British are more intelligent and civilized than Americans. I am a New York girl, that's how I always think of myself and see myself."

Paltrow, who lives part-time in London with her British husband, Coldplay singer Chris Martin, and their two children, Apple, 2, and Moses, 7 months, says: "I live in England half the time because I'm married to an English guy. It's not like I've left America."

As for where the quotes came from, Paltrow says she did not give an interview to the Portuguese daily newspaper, though she did give a press conference – in Spanish – for an endorsement she did in Spain.

"This is what I said. I said that Europe is a much older culture and there's a difference. I always say in America, people live to work and in Europe, people work to live. There are positives in both," says the actress, adding, "Obviously I need to go back to seventh-grade Spanish!"

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