May 15, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

She’ll be the Apple of her parents’ eyes — literally. People reports that Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin became the parents early Friday morning of a 9-pound, 11-ounce girl they named Apple Blythe Alison Martin. The proud papa confirmed the report, issuing a statement saying that he and his wife were ”ecstatic” over the birth, which took place, after ”a long labor,” in a London hospital at 1 a.m. on May 14. ”Both mother and baby are very well,” Martin said. ”We are 900 miles over the moon, and we’d like to thank everyone at the hospital who have looked after us amazingly.”

The child is the first for the 31-year-old Oscar winner and the 27-year-old Coldplay frontman. The couple, virtually inseparable since she met him backstage at a Coldplay concert in 2002, announced her pregnancy last Dec. 3, two days before their secret wedding in Santa Barbara. At the time, Paltrow said on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show that her due date was ”summer-ish.”

Just a week ago, W Magazine published an interview in which Paltrow said she was likely to emulate her mom, actress Blythe Danner, and take a long maternity leave after the baby was born. While Paltrow has completed two movies that will be out later this year, ”Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” and ”Proof,” after that, ”I might not work for ages,” she told W. ”Acting is a fantastic job, but it’s not going to define my life, much to my agent’s horror.” Of the difficulty of being a showbiz mom, she said: ”You can’t do movies back to back and see your child if they go to school … My mother turned down every fantastic movie there was. She turned down these amazing things that would have made her a huge movie star.”

Danner herself called Paltrow’s retreat from public life since the 2002 death of her father (”St. Elsewhere” producer Bruce Paltrow) a healthy move. ”She’s lived an intense 10 years in the spotlight, and she’s had to find her solace,” Danner said of her daughter in an EW interview six months ago. ”I think the best thing she’s done has been to be a bit enigmatic, to hide and come back, to have found strength from removing herself.”

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