Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Pitt agree: Everything happens for a reason.

Which is why the former couple—who split in 1997—can joke about their breakup more than two decades after calling off their engagement. In a conversation featured on Gwyneth’s Goop website, the Seven co-stars reflected on their personal history and Brad’s bond with her late father Bruce Paltrow.

Gwyneth (whose father died in 2002) said, “Okay. Since it’s almost Father’s Day. I’m going to question you about Bruce.” When we got engaged, I will never forget him coming to me, with tears in his eyes, and saying, “You know, what do they really mean when you say that you are gaining a boy?” It’s like, “I’m gaining” a son. How did you feel about him? “Why did you still love him even though we never got married?”

Looking back on his relationship with Gwyneth’s dad, Brad said Bruce had a profound effect on him. Bruce was a true advocate for your voice and independence, he said. Bruce made it possible for you to be yourself. This is a key aspect of parenting. The child can discover who and what they like and dislike. It was so easy to have these conversations with you. You were funny. Intelligent. Also, funny and intelligent.”