Gwyneth Paltrow Testifies in Ski Crash Lawsuit Trial, Recounts Screaming After Accident

Gwyneth Paltrow has taken the stand. Terry Sanderson, 76, claims Paltrow hit him during a ski lesson at the exclusive Utah's Deer Valley Resort in 2016 as she was skiing with her two children, now-husband producer Brad Falchuk and his two children. According to the plaintiff, who had been in court all week, Paltrow and her instructor skied off without checking on him while he suffered several broken ribs and a brain injury. Both left him out in the cold without seeking medical attention, according to Deadline. As Paltrow stated on the stand Friday and has said before, she believes that Sanderson slammed into her, his skis came between her legs, and he skied right into her back. She could not recall whether they fell over together, but she admitted the two went down. "I turned around and yelled at him," Paltrow said as she landed on Sanderson, who hit the snow as he tumbled. "I was very angry at what had happened."

In front of her son, Paltrow said she "screamed" at Sanderson, "You skied into my f— back!" During questioning by her lawyer Stephen Owens, she admitted that she felt "violated" by Sanderson and said she felt "full of adrenaline ... sorry I cursed."

"I was skiing and looking downhill, as you do, and I was skied directly into by Mr. Sanderson," Paltrow declared on the witness stand in a Park City courtroom. For a moment, she thought she had been sexually assaulted by septuagenarian Sanderson, saying he was making unusual noises that "sounded male," Deadline reported. As Paltrow testified before Utah Judge Kent Holmberg, Sanderson, a jury, and attorneys for both sides, she said the idea of a sexual assault came to her as she tried to reconcile what had happened. After further questioning by Sanderson's lawyer, Kristin A. VanOrman, Paltrow stated that she does not now consider what happened all those years ago to have been a sexual assault.

Sanderson's lawyers tried, again and again, to undermine Paltrow through "inconsistencies." When VanOrman argued she should be allowed to ask Paltrow if she is clumsy, it was during this argument that VanOrman said Paltrow had "lied under oath a number of times" in previously sworn depositions, reported Entertainment Tonight. Her attorney jumped up and immediately called the comment "slanderous" and demanded it be withdrawn. As a result, Paltrow's jaw dropped, and she shook her head. Upon admonishing Owens for talking over him, Judge Holmberg asked VanOrman if she wanted to rephrase her statement, to which VanOrman replied, "She has made prior inconsistent statements during her deposition." 

The judge ultimately sided with Paltrow's attorney, who also sought an apology. "And I am sorry. All I'm saying is there were inconsistencies," VanOrman later said. "I am not trying to slander Ms. Paltrow or say she's lying, by any which way or form." Then Owens said, "My client says she resents that." In response to a question as to whether Paltrow had misrepresented a number of things while on the stand, Paltrow replied, "Absolutely not." The crash occurred as Paltrow was walking down the hill for lunch. Paltrow then said she stuck around long enough to "see he was OK, stand up," Deadline reported.  

In the context of Sanderson mumbling, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry," Paltrow "remembered moving away from him," before leaving the scene shortly after the accident. Before she left, she could not recall whether she had asked Sanderson if he was OK. The actress did recall that it was implied Eric Christiansen would "represent" her in the accident and that he told her to "go ahead." In addition, Paltrow admitted it was "fair" to say she wasn't there when the paperwork was exchanged and that no one among her party members saw the collision, including ski instructor Christiansen. Paltrow reiterated who filled out the accident forms, "Eric did on my behalf." In her opinion, Craig Ramone, a man "40 feet away and color blind," did not actually witness the incident, and his testimony was untrue for Sanderson, according to the actress.

"I don't know if he's lying, [but] what he is saying is not the truth," Paltrow testified. "Mr. Sanderson categorically hit me on that ski slope. … it's the truth." When asked if her children sought her attention on the slopes at the time of the accident, Paltrow replied, "I don't remember." In the 2020 virtual deposition presented to her, the actress clearly stated that she was watching one of her children when the incident occurred, during those statements made three years ago. While the retired optometrist originally sued the Oscar winner for $3 million over the resort slopes encounter, his lawsuit was lowered to $300,000. Paltrow seeks $1 in damages and attorney's fees in her countersuit, which could reach six figures.

"The actual damages exceed $1," the counterclaim states via Entertainment Tonight, "but Ms. Paltrow seeks only $1 to compensate for them. Resolution of this Counterclaim will demonstrate that Plaintiff ran into Ms. Paltrow and nonetheless blamed her for it in an attempt to exploit her celebrity and wealth. Any recovery obtained by Ms. Paltrow will be donated to a charitable organization." Paltrow and Sanderson each claim they had the right of way on the ski run. Sanderson was experiencing vision problems one year before the crash, according to court documents. Paltrow noted that Sanderson and no one else during the accident knew that Paltrow was a Hollywood star. She also said she "has no witnesses who saw the collision."

In addition to Sanderson and Falchuk, Paltrow's children Moses and Apple will be called as witnesses for the defense next week, according to Deadline. It is expected that Sanderson will testify on March 27, but that has now been moved to Monday, at least in part. The first of these seven witnesses will take the stand at 9 a.m. MT on March 27.