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(CNN) -- For the Oscar-winner and Hollywood A-lister, family takes priority over career goals.
A recent brief trip to Hong Kong to film "Contagion" directed by Steven Soderberg fitted in well with how she wants her life to be: an enjoyable cultural experience then back home to be with her family and continue her other projects that include charity work and the website "GOOP".
"I am never away from [my children] for longer than five days, a week at the most.... I do one film a year, and then I do the rest of my stuff at home," she told CNN.
"It is a balance. Sometimes I have to not do something that sounds really appealing, but it just doesn't work for my family. You can't have it all."
Despite recent roles in big budget Hollywood films like the "Iron Man" movies, and being in the luxurious position of being able to pick and choose what roles she wants, she refutes her star status.
"I mean technically I'm really not a movie star, you know I kind of do more independent movies. I mean sometimes I'm in movies that make a lot of money, but I don't think that's my niche."
Married to British musician Chris Martin since 2005, she has skillfully taken herself away from the flashbulbs of the paparazzi as much as she can.
Yet she was once the subject to fevered media gossip, especially when she was engaged to Brad Pitt in the mid-1990s. But media intrusion is much worse now, she says.
"The funny thing about it is, when I look back now, it's nothing compared to what people go through now with the tabloids. I think it's ramped up to a whole other level. It was strange to be followed around and photographed," she said.
"But in the ensuing 15 years or whatever it has got a hundred times worse. When I see high profile relationships now, I think, 'Oh my God' even though I'm technically in one. But we sort of don't do anything public, we try to keep it behind the scenes as possible. Because it just generates more interest, and more paparazzi and being followed, and it just undermines the quality of your life.
"It's just unnecessary to be a public couple, and to have your couple-dom or whatever be its own entity, it doesn't make sense to have that in the public world."
However she did make public her struggle to cope with postpartum depression after the birth of her second child Moses in 2006. It was personally shocking and she felt it was an issue that needed more public attention.
"I hadn't heard anyone say, 'I'm having a very hard time connecting to this baby' so I could say, 'Me too'. "I just thought 'I am a terrible mother, I'm a terrible person, how has this happened, what's wrong with me, I just don't feel well.' And luckily, after about four months, I started to really come out of it, because some women experience it for much, much longer," she said.
"But I think that it's so important for women to know that it happens, it's common, and there's nothing wrong with them, and they're not a bad mother, and to seek help if they need it or at least a support group."