Gwyneth Paltrow took the stand in a Utah courtroom Friday to give her side of the story in a lawsuit accusing her of crashing into a man and skiing away down the slopes of an upscale ski resort.
A stoic Paltrow sat for questioning from a lawyer for 76-year-old retired optometrist Terry Sanderson, who alleges that in 2016, the lifestyle mogul was skiing behind him at Park City’s Deer Valley Resort when she slammed into him and then skied away. The collision, he claimed, caused him a brain injury and broken ribs.
Paltrow gave a nearly opposite version of events Friday before a 10-person jury, saying Sanderson skied into her and hurt her knee and back.
“You skied into my effing back,” Paltrow recalled telling Sanderson, who apologized to her and said he was OK when she left the scene. A ski instructor with Paltrow and her two children stayed behind to ensure Sanderson’s wellbeing and fill out post-accident paperwork, she said.
At one point, Kristin Van Orman, Sanderson’s lawyer leading the cross-examination, asked Paltrow to come down from the stand and reenact the collision from her point of view ― a request quickly refused by Paltrow’s lawyer and denied by the judge, Kent Holmberg.
Sanderson initially sought $3.1 million in the claim, but the amount has been reset to $300,000. Paltrow has countersued him for a symbolic $1 and payment of her legal fees.
Earlier during Friday’s trial, Sanderson’s daughter testified that her father’s personality changed after the collision and that the change damaged his relationship with his family.
When Paltrow’s lawyer asked his client for her reaction to that, she remarked: “I really do, I feel very sorry for him. It seems like he’s had a really difficult life, but I did not cause the accident, so I cannot be at fault for anything that subsequently happened to him.”
The trial, which began Tuesday, is slated to last eight days. Sanderson, medical experts, ski instructors and Paltrow’s two children are expected to testify next week.