The Gwyneth Paltrow ski crash trial is getting wild, guys!
As we previously reported, in January 2019 the actress was hit with a multimillion dollar lawsuit over a ski crash that took place three years prior in 2016. The Shakespeare In Love star was taking skiing lessons at the time with her instructor Eric Christiansen at skiers-only resort Deer Valley in Park City, Utah. According to retired optometrist Terry Sanderson‘s suit, Gwyneth was “out of control” on the beginner’s green run and crashed into him from behind. The lawsuit further claims the incident resulted in her “a brain injury, four broken ribs, and other serious injuries.”
Sanderson’s friend and daughter took the stand yesterday and detail the extent of his injuries — with them going as far to say he’s not even the same person as before because the brain injury “changed” him so much. Yeesh…
But it’s not just the injuries in dispute — it’s the response. The suit claims the Avengers actress “got up, turned and skied away, leaving [Sanderson] stunned, lying in the snow.” Harsh! And her instructor Christiansen allegedly took her side in the matter and “failed to send help, as he was obligated to do, and later filed a false report to protect his client.” Sanderson maintains he was left with no choice but to take the matter to court after the Goop founder refused to take responsibility for the collision.
But if y’all thought that was scandalous, everything just went from zero to 60 when Gwyneth took the stand on Friday. We aren’t kidding, what she said will leave you with your jaw on the floor!
Firstly, the Glee alum said she didn’t ski into the now-76-year-old, but it was the other way around — Sanderson crashed into her. That much we expected. But it was what she said next that had our jaws on the floor. She testified in court that she was actually really scared at the time — because she feared he was trying to sexually assault her:
“Is this someone doing something perverted? I was trying to put together what was happening behind me.”
The reason she thought Sanderson was being “perverted,” she said, is because she felt his legs between her legs as they fell to the ground and he was making “groaning” noises:
“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?”
A tangle of limbs? Exclamations of pain? Seems pretty expected with a ski collision — which itself can’t be all that uncommon on a beginner’s course… If her mind immediately jumped to sexual assault from that, when they were both fully bundled on a snowy mountain — we’re not sure if that says more about her or about our horrible world.
Even if it’s true, if that was her initial thought, what’s the goal in sharing it now? Is she just trying to answer honestly? Or is she trying to vilify the plaintiff with hints of being a “pervert” who was trying to grope her?? If the jury sees this as a veiled attempt to discredit Sanderson, it could backfire on Gwyneth spectacularly. Just saying…
See the shocking moment of testimony for yourself (below)!
Gwyneth went on to say she remembers screaming at Sanderson during the collision, telling him, “You skied directly into my f***ing back!” to which she believes he replied “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” She admitted she didn’t recall asking if the optometrist was okay, and she left her instructor to “handle” the situation as she went down the slope to meet her daughter, Apple, at the bottom.
The Shallow Hal actress defended not asking about Sanderson after the fact, 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.”
“The victim of a crash”. Sorry, we have to say it again. When you’re on a beginner’s slope, you have to assume there will be collisions, right? Whomever you run into or runs into you, isn’t it just common courtesy to make sure everyone is OK? We’re talking about a man who was in his late 60s who allegedly wasn’t able to get up right away. We have to wonder what the jury will make of her defense of her own lack of compassion for his alleged injury…
Gwyneth went on to impugn eyewitness Craig Ramon‘s testimony — saying she didn’t see him that day and isn’t sure if he was there at all:
“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.”
She questioned Ramon’s claims he asked her if she was okay after the crash, and also took issue with his claim Sanderson was unconscious for “one to two minutes” following it. When Sanderson’s attorney responded with “that’s what you believe,” Gwyneth hit back with:
“Because it’s the truth.”
She really doubled down on this! After being caught lying, no less — apparently she tried to deny she was watching her son Moses ski next to her when the crash happened, but his ski instructor spilled the beans! She then changed her original denial and 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.”
No just on Moses. But she was watching him. She was distracted. Hmm…
Is it just us, or is Gwyneth digging a bit of a hole for herself? We’re no lawyers, so maybe we’re WAY off base. But hey, check it out for yourself! You can watch more of Gwyneth’s testimony (below):
This is shaping up to be a real mess and it’s only day four! We wonder how Apple and Moses are going to testify when they take the stand… Reactions, Perezcious readers?