Gwyneth Paltrow initially feared that she was being sexually assaulted when she was hit from behind on a ski slope, saying she felt legs between her legs as she and Terry Sanderson toppled to the ground.
Paltrow, 50, said she screamed ‘You skied directly into my f***ing back’ at the retiree who has accused her of leaving him brain damaged in a ski crash.
The actress, who was one of the first to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, said she was momentarily frightened that Terry Sanderson could be an attacker.
She said she thought: ‘Is this someone doing something perverted?’
She added: ‘I was trying to put together what was happening behind me.’
She swiftly realized, she said, that it was not a sexual attack, but rather someone had crashed into her from behind.
In dramatic testimony on the fourth day of her trial, Paltrow admitted to shouting at Sanderson, 76, as he lay on the ground in the aftermath of the crash.
She said it was not usual for her to yell an obscenity, but said: ‘After an incident when you feel hurt and violated, unfortunately adrenaline kicks in.’
Gwyneth Paltrow took the stand in court in Utah Friday for the fourth day of her ski crash trial
Sanderson alleges he was left with four broken ribs and a permanent brain injury. Paltrow denies crashing into the retiree and countersued, saying he was the one who skied into her – leaving her angry and sore
She admitted that she did not remember asking if Sanderson was okay and left ski instructor Eric Christiansen to ‘handle’ the situation for her – continuing down the slope to meet daughter Apple at the bottom.
Paltrow questioned the testimony of eyewitness Craig Ramon, telling court: ‘He said he was 40ft away and colorblind, I don’t know how he could have seen what he thinks he saw.
‘And I can tell you that he didn’t because Mr Sanderson categorically hit me and that is the truth.’
She said Ramon did not ask her if she was okay, with only Christiansen and husband Brad Falchuk enquiring about her health in the aftermath.
She also took issue with Ramon’s claim that Sanderson was unconscious for ‘one or two minutes’ after the collision.
Paltrow admitted she did not give a thought to Sanderson after the crash and spent the afternoon afterwards getting a massage, saying: ‘When you’re the victim of a crash, your psychology is not thinking about the person who perpetrated it.
‘At the time, I did not know he had sustained injuries like that – I thought it was minor on the day.’
In a bizarre exchange, Paltrow told attorney Kristin van Orman she only has one ski suit and that she dresses to avoid being recognized but noted: ‘Paparazzi have a way of working things out.’
She claimed instructor Eric Christiansen had handed over her contact details to the stricken Sanderson and she did not abandon him on the slopes.
Swinging her chair back and forth as she was questioned, Paltrow added: ‘I was not engaging in any risky behavior [that day].’
During her testimony, Paltrow said she heard Sanderson making a ‘groaning noise’ as they collided and initially thought she was being assaulted by someone ‘perverted’.
She said: ‘He was making some strange noises that sounded male and he was large so I assumed he was a male.
‘I was confused at first because it’s a very strange thing to happen on a ski slope. I got very upset a few seconds later.
‘There was a body pressing against me and he was making a groaning noise. I didn’t know, is this a practical joke or is someone doing something perverted?’
Paltrow also attempted to deny she had been watching son Moses ski at the time of the crash but was tripped up by testimony from her son’s instructor Kari Oaks.
She said: ‘I can still watch my children ski and be skied directly into my back by someone and that’s what happened.
‘My daughter was down the hill and my son was to my left, I was skiing and my eyes were not just on Moses.’
She said she yelled at Sanderson: ‘You skied directly into my f****** back!’
Paltrow said Sanderson replied, in a mumble: ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.’
Reminded of how she spoke to Sanderson, she said: ‘I felt violated, my knee hurt, my back hurt, I was really upset. I’m sorry that I cursed.’
She said that her son Moses’s ski instructor, Eric Christiansen, came over and helped Sanderson up.
Paltrow said she had no recollection of Craig Ramon, a friend and ski companion of Sanderson’s, who testified earlier during the week that Paltrow hit Sanderson.
She said she did not see him, and left the scene when the ski instructor arrived.
‘When Eric, as an accredited Deer Valley ski instructor, said he would handle the paperwork, I believed him,’ she said.
Asked about Ramon, she said: ‘I don’t believe he saw it. I don’t believe he saw what he thinks he saw.
‘He said he was 40ft away and color blind. I don’t know how he can be positive about what he saw, given the distance.
‘Mr Sanderson categorically hit me on the ski slope.’
Sanderson’s attorney said: ‘That’s what you believe.’
Paltrow replied: ‘Because it’s the truth.’
Paltrow was then grilled over her friendship with Taylor Swift who was awarded a symbolic $1 in damages on 2017 after she won her case against a Denver DJ accused of groping her.
She told court: ‘I would not say we’re good friends. We are friendly. I’ve taken my kids to her concert once but we don’t speak very often.’
In cross-examination, Paltrow said she feels sorry for Sanderson’s injuries but was adamant she is not to blame for the crash.
She also talked of her father Bruce who died in 2002 aged 58 and spoke of how he taught her to ski at Alta Ski Area in the Wasatch Mountains close to Park City.
Paltrow smiled when she was reminded that witness Craig Ramon believed she had been skiing with ‘that Coldplay guy’ – she was on vacation with now husband Brad Falchuk.
She said: ‘I think he was referring to my first husband Chris Martin. He’s a guitar player, a piano player and a singer in the band Coldplay’
Gwyneth Paltrow was back in court in Utah Friday for the fourth day of her ski crash trial
She was then shown a text exchange between her and ski instructor Eric Christiansen on the day of the crash – in which he asked if she was still skiing.
Paltrow told him: ‘I came in earlier. That guy [Sanderson] kind of hurt me.’
The Goop guru was then asked if she screamed on being hit which she denied. She described the first contact as ‘slow’ and said the impact came later.
She also denied that Sanderson was ever unconscious and ridiculed Ramon’s account that he was knocked out for two minutes, saying: ‘He’s said so many different minutes so many times, I find it difficult to recall.’
Of Sanderson, she added: ‘I don’t know if he was unconscious – it’s possible he was for a split second.’
She flatly denied that she was involved in a ‘hit and run’ on the day of the crash and replied ‘absolutely not’ when asked if she had asked Christiansen to falsify a report of the incident on her behalf.
Paltrow said she had stayed on the mountain for a while after the collision, saying: ‘I did indeed’.
The actress told court she had been left hurt by the crash, saying her right knee felt overstretched, and she sought a massage to help alleviate the pain.
Paltrow’s children Apple and Moses, and husband Brad Falchuk, 52, are set to follow her onto the stand on Monday with Paltrow saying Apple would be ‘unfortunately’ missing a day of school to testify.
The family were on vacation at the time of the crash, with the two children witnessing parts of the incident.
Despite blizzard conditions in Park City, the A-lister arrived wearing a $248 pair of mirrored Rayban aviator sunglasses which she paired with a long navy coat, a navy blue dress and a black pair of $1,200 Celine boots
Friday’s proceedings began with the cross examination of Dr. Richard Boehme, who insisted the only explanation for Sanderson’s rib fractures was being hit from the left and landed on by Paltrow.
Dr. Boehme, who drew his conclusions from a review of documents and a clinical session when Sanderson, said he had considered an alternative – that Sanderson hit Paltrow – but thought his injuries could not have been caused that way.
He also dismissed suggestions that Sanderson was ‘malingering’ or exaggerating the extent of his injuries.
Sanderson’s legal team then called Mark Herath, a FedEx pilot and the brother-in-law of his daughter Shae.
Herath said the pair had been close prior to the accident but became distant afterwards due to changes in Sanderson’s personality.
He told court he had been shocked after being told, the day after the accident, that Paltrow had skied away after allegedly hitting Sanderson, saying: ‘He said he heard a scream and got hit from behind, hit the snow and went unconscious and had to be taken off the mountain.
‘He said Gwyneth Paltrow hit him and she left the scene of the accident – that surprised me. Because my roommate in college, his mom got hit, and the kid tried to escape and they chased him down the mountain. That was in Colorado.
‘It’s a hit and run. It’s a serious offense. It’s something you just don’t do.’
He said Sanderson had become increasingly confused after the crash and gave up skiing in the aftermath.
Herath said: ‘It was like day and night since before and after the accident. He hasn’t skied since the accident.
‘I talked to him the first year after the accident about skiing but it was clear that was a dead end. He wasn’t mentally ready to ski again.’
He added: ‘It’s not enjoyable to be around Terry like it used to be because he’s confused a lot, the paranoia, he’s anxious around people. You can only take Terry in small doses now.’
Sanderson’s legal team then called Mark Herath, a FedEx pilot and the brother-in-law of his daughter Shae. Herath said the pair had been close prior to the accident but became distant afterwards due to changes in Sanderson’s personality
Sanderson’s daughter Shae Herath told the jury that her father no longer ‘trusts his brain’ in the wake of the crash and the injuries he received
Paltrow is accused in a lawsuit of crashing into a Sanderson during a 2016 family ski vacation
Later, Sanderson’s daughter Shae Herath told the jury that her father no longer ‘trusts his brain’ in the wake of the crash and the injuries he received.
Shae, who appeared visibly nervous on the stand and spoke in a sometimes shaky voice, said: ‘My dad has quite a few personality issues, the injury to his brain has caused significant damage – enough to cause personality changes.
‘My dad is very insecure, he doesn’t show it but he doesn’t trust his brain anymore. He used to be able to multitask and do all sorts of tasks and now he can’t follow through.
‘As his daughter, I feel that his life is exhausting.’
Owens had repeatedly asked Shae about her parents’ divorce, whether Sanderson had assaulted a man who allegedly had an affair with her mother and referred to an incident involving the retiree’s second wife where the people were called.
An incredulous Shae replied: ‘Are you getting your facts straight? ‘ During his questioning, Owens also noted Sanderson once accidentally overdosed on his medication and had to be revived with Narcan.
According to Owens, Sanderson referred to Paltrow as ‘Godzilla’ and told his daughter that he had ‘Godzilla coming after him’ in his account of the ski crash.
Owens then attempted to paint Sanderson as an attention seeker, telling court that youngest daughter Jenny had described him in that way and claimed the optometrist thought it was ‘cool’ to see his name in the press and sent his daughters links to coverage in the press.
Yesterday, the trial heard from another of Sanderson’s daughters, Polly Grasham, 49, who said her father had been left dramatically changed by the crash
Yesterday, the trial heard from another of Sanderson’s daughters, Polly Grasham, 49, who said her father had been left dramatically changed by the crash.
Grasham said: ‘It’s really messy right now, it’s really hard. I think he’s in a really negative place and that’s hard for me as a daughter.
‘It’s like the main sentence is gone and all we have are the little details – part of the frustration is he gets caught up in little details and the primary focus is gone.
‘I have to bring it full circle. I think he gets frustrated and angry. Now it’s very A to B, don’t throw in a C or a D. I understand there is a lot of grief and loss for the way his life functioned before, it doesn’t function like that now.’
Prior to the crash, Grasham said, her father had a ‘Mensa mind’, was good at troubleshooting and loved to spend time with granddaughters Hope, 25, and Anne, 22.
‘[He was] just really fun-loving, gregarious, really quick with a joke and a smile.
‘My dad was smart. I used to describe him as a Mensa mind. Quick to figure things out.’
She said she was told of the crash on the day it happened and knew he was getting medical treatment but only realized the extent of his injuries when he came to Idaho at the end of May 2016 for Hope’s graduation.
Grasham said: ‘There was a time when he was sitting in a chair by my window and I almost expected drool to be coming out of his mouth.
‘He hadn’t engaged with anybody and had taken himself off to a remote corner – that was when I first felt something was terribly wrong.’
She also said Sanderson had become increasingly angry and ‘petty’ in the wake of the crash – in contrast to his previous behavior.
Grasham said the symptoms were worst in the first 18 months after the crash and have improved a little since but said he still struggles with multitasking and disorientation.