Gwyneth Paltrow is speaking her side of the story.
The celebrity wellness CEO and “Shakespeare in Love” star took the stand Friday in Utah after being sued for a ski crash in 2016, referred to as a “hit and run.”
Paltrow is on trial, which began Tuesday, after being sued for $300,000 by Terry Sanderson in 2019, who claimed she seriously injured him during a crash on the beginner slopes at Deer Valley Resort in Park City in 2016. Paltrow filed her own lawsuit against Sanderson seeking “symbolic damages in the amount of $1, plus her costs and attorney’s fees to defend this meritless claim,” her lawsuit states.
Sanderson also claims Paltrow left him on the mountain without help. Paltrow has denied the allegations and in a counterclaim said it was Sanderson who crashed into her.
Gwyneth Paltrow says Terry Sanderson ‘categorically’ crashed into her
While on the stand, Paltrow said she “was not engaging in any risky behavior” the day she alleges Sanderson crashed into her from behind on a beginner ski slope.
Sanderson’s lawyer Kristin Vanorman pressed Paltrow to provide a moment-by-moment account of the incident, during which the actress recalled that, while the crash was happening, she thought for a brief moment she might be getting sexually assaulted.
“That was a quick thought that went through my head when I was trying to reconcile what was happening,” Paltrow said, saying she heard Sanderson groan and felt a man’s weight pressing into her backside during the crash. “My brain was trying to make sense of what was happening.”
Paltrow noted Sanderson’s skis came forward in between her skis during the collision. She also confirmed she yelled an expletive at Sanderson following the crash, adding she felt “upset” at the time.
“I apologize for my bad language,” she said, to which Vanorman replied, “You’re small but mighty. Actually, you’re not that small.”
Paltrow also denied the account provided by Greg Ramone, a ski friend of Sanderson who previously testified he saw Paltrow hit Sanderson in the crash.
“I don’t believe he saw what he thinks he saw,” Paltrow said of Ramone’s testimony. “He said he was 40 feet away and color blind. I don’t know how he can be positive about what he saw.”
Throughout questioning, Paltrow maintained Sanderson collided into her, saying, “Mr. Sanderson categorically hit me on that ski slope, and that is the truth.”
Paltrow says she feels ‘very sorry’ for Sanderson but she didn’t hit him
Vanorman also inquired about Paltrow’s relationship with singer Taylor Swift, who won $1 in damages in a 2017 groping case.
“Are you good friends with Taylor Swift?” the attorney asked Paltrow, to which the actress replied: “I would not say we are good friends. We are friendly. I’ve taken my kids to one of her concerts before, but we don’t talk very often.” The line of questioning was eventually halted by an objection, to laughter from the courtroom.
Later, Paltrow’s lawyer Steve Owens asked Paltrow if she has empathy for Sanderson and his health issues, despite his lawsuit against her.
“You know, I really do,” Paltrow said. “I feel very sorry for him. It seems like he’s had a very difficult life, but I did not cause the accident so I cannot be at fault for anything that subsequently happened to him.”
Paltrow’s legal team said she sustained a ‘full body blow’ in the crash
In opening arguments on the trial’s first day, both sides presented their clients as conservative skiers who were stunned when a skier above them crashed into them.
Paltrow’s legal team, including attorney Steve Owens, told jurors that Sanderson was the one who crashed into her — a collision in which she sustained what they called a “full body blow.” Owens noted that members of Paltrow’s group checked on Sanderson, who assured them he was fine — an interaction Sanderson doesn’t deny but said in court filings that he can’t remember.
Paltrow is seeking “symbolic damages in the amount of $1, plus her costs and attorney’s fees to defend this meritless claim,” her lawsuit said. The actress vowed to donate any additional funds potentially awarded by the jury to a charitable organization.
Contributing: Edward Segarra, USA TODAY; The Associated Press
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