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Gwyneth Paltrow finally took the stand in her ongoing ski crash trial on Friday afternoon, giving her testimony as to what took place on the Utah ski resort slopes between her and Terry Sanderson, the man who’s alleging that Paltrow skied recklessly, crashing into him and causing him significant injury in 2016. He’s seeking $300,000 in damages, while she’s seeking a symbolic $1 and compensation for her legal fees.
Paltrow disputes Sanderson’s version of events entirely. Under questioning from an attorney working for Sanderson, the GOOP founder, clad for court in a fitted, dark navy blue collared sweater and intermittently taking swigs from a green glass water bottle, was polite yet firm as she repeatedly insisted that Sanderson had skied into her back, causing the accident.
According to Paltrow, she was skiing at a moderate pace when she heard a rustling sound behind her—next, two skis appeared between her own, and she felt the front of someone’s “large” body pressing into her back.
“I was confused at first, and I didn’t know exactly what was happening,” Paltrow said. “It’s a very strange thing to happen on a ski slope, and I froze, and I would say I got very upset a couple seconds later.”
In Paltrow’s deposition, she said that while the accident was occurring, “I didn’t know if it was an intentional assault of a sexual nature.”
“That was a quick thought that went through my head when I was trying to reconcile what was happening,” Paltrow said on the stand. “I was skiing, and 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. So my brain was trying to make sense of what was happening. I thought, ‘Is this a practical joke? Is someone doing something perverted? This is really, really strange.’ My mind was going very, very quickly, and I was trying to ascertain what was happening.”
Paltrow later clarified that while the possibility that she was being sexually assaulted crossed her mind at the time, she is not accusing Sanderson of having sexually assaulted her.
After he collided into her, Paltrow and Sanderson then collapsed to the right side of the ski slope, she testified. “I said, ‘You skied directly into my effing back,’ and he said, ‘Oh sorry, sorry, I’m sorry,’” Paltrow said.
Sanderson’s attorney pushed hard, asking Paltrow if she engages in risky behavior when her children are present (that question was sustained) and arguing that the actress had admitted to being clumsy in the past. She also unsuccessfully attempted to get Paltrow to re-enact the accident in the courtroom.
During a brief break, when Paltrow wasn’t on the stand and the questioning had taken a pause, Sanderson’s attorney said of Paltrow, “She’s lied under oath a number of times.”
Paltrow’s attorney immediately fired back: “Your Honor, that is slanderous and I want it withdrawn this moment.” The judge then asked Sanderson's attorney if she wished to rephrase, and she did so: “Yes, absolutely. She has made prior inconsistent statements.”
Sanderson’s attorney then asked Paltrow if she had been aware of the symbolic $1 Taylor Swift was awarded in her successful sexual assault lawsuit against radio host David Mueller. “I was not aware at the time,” Paltrow responded.
“Are you good friends with Taylor Swift?” Sanderson’s attorney asked.
“No?” Paltrow said.
“You’re not good friends with Taylor Swift,” Sanderson’s attorney said.
“I would not say we’re good friends,” Paltrow said. “We are friendly, I’ve taken my kids to one of her concerts before, but we don’t talk very often.”
“You’ve never given Miss Swift, personal, intimate gifts for Christmas?” At this point, Paltrow’s attorney intervened, citing relevance.
The trial is set to resume Monday, with Paltrow’s daughter, son, and husband also expected to take the stand at some point.