Paltrow: I Initially Thought Ski Crash Was a Sex Assault

Star took the stand Friday to testify about 2016 accident on slopes of Park City, Utah
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2023 9:30 AM CDT
Paltrow Initially Thought Ski Crash Was a 'Joke'
Gwyneth Paltrow testifies during her trial on Friday in Park City, Utah.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, Pool)

Gwyneth Paltrow's ski crash trial continued Friday, with the star herself taking the stand to testify about the incident that took place in Park City, Utah, in February 2016. The 50-year-old actor and Goop CEO testified she initially thought retired optometrist Terry Sanderson, 76, slammed directly into her back at the Deer Valley Resort as part of a "sexual assault" or "practical joke," reports CBS News. Per CNN, Paltrow testified that "two skis came between my skis, forcing my legs apart. And then there was a body pressing against me. And there was a very strange grunting noise." The star added that she "absolutely froze" as "my brain was trying to make sense of what was happening."

Paltrow, who testified she quickly realized it wasn't a sexual assault, said that the two then tumbled to the ground, and that she was "very angry" afterward and let loose a string of profanity at Sanderson, which she apologized for on the stand, per CBS. However, Sanderson's attorneys say it was Paltrow who skied into their client, who broke four ribs and ended up suing Paltrow for $3 million plus, which he has since amended to $300,000 for damages, per court documents (Paltrow has countersued, for $1 and legal fees). Sanderson claims that Paltrow and her ski instructor left the scene on the beginner's ski slope without securing medical care for him, adding that he has since suffered lasting injuries and brain damage

Paltrow insisted in her testimony that it wasn't a hit-and-run accident, and that she'd stuck around "long enough for [Sanderson] to say that he was OK" and stand up. She added that her ski instructor stayed behind with Sanderson after she left. Sanderson's longtime friend, Mark Herath, also testified, noting that after the accident, his usually gregarious pal became easily confused, angry, and paranoid, per CBS. "You can only take Terry in small doses now," Herath noted on the stand. The trial is set to resume Monday. The AP notes that Paltrow's lawyers may once again call her to the stand, as well as ski instructors, medical experts, and her two children, Moses and Apple, who were with her on the family ski trip. (More Gwyneth Paltrow stories.)

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