Gwyneth Paltrow feared crash was sexual assault after skis ‘forced legs apart’03/25/2023
Gwyneth Paltrow has said she believed the crash she was involved in was a sexual assault after her legs were ‘forced apart’ by skis.
The Shallow Hal actress, 50, is being sued by retired optometrist Terry Sanderson over a collision at the Deer Valley resort in Utah in 2016.
The 76-year-old is seeking damages of a minimum of $300,000 (£244,000), while the Shakespeare in Love star’s counter-claim is $1 (82p).
Sanderson alleges the Iron Man actress collided with him and left him with significant brain injuries.
Meanwhile, Paltrow, who has been described by her legal team as a ‘conservative’ skier, denies the claims and alleges Sanderson was the one who crashed into her.
As she took to the stand on the fourth day of the trial, The Royal Tenenbaums star reconstructed the sequence who events leading up to the incident.
Paltrow said: ‘I was confused at first and I didn’t know exactly what was happening.
‘It’s a very strange thing to happen on a ski slope. I froze and I would say I got very upset a couple of seconds later.
She added: ‘[I thought] is this a practical joke? Is someone doing something perverted? My mind was going very quickly and trying to ascertain what was happening.’
While being questioned by Sanderson’s lawyer Kristin Van Orman, Paltrow told the court while she was skiing ‘two skis came between my skis, forcing my legs apart.’
‘And then there was a body pressing against me,’ she added.
Van Orman asked: ‘Was he grinding or thrusting? What made you think it was a sexual assault?’
Paltrow replied: ‘It was a quick thought that went through my head.
‘There was a strange grunting noise and a body behind me so I was trying to make sense of what was going on.
‘What you have to remember is that when you’re a victim of a crash, your psychology is not necessarily thinking about the person who perpetrated it.
‘Mr Sanderson hit me and that is categorically the truth.’
Later in the trial, while being cross-examined by her lawyer, Stephen Owens, Paltrow said she felt ‘very sorry’ for Sanderson.
‘I really do feel very sorry for him,’ she said.
‘It seems like he’s had a very difficult life but I did not cause the accident so I cannot be at fault for what subsequently happened to him.’
The actress also denied that she was counterclaiming for one dollar because of a similar ‘symbolic’ lawsuit brought by Taylor Swift.
‘I had not been familiar with [that lawsuit] but I now am,’ she said.
‘It’s an actual dollar that I’m asking for. It’s symbolic because the damages would actually be more.’
Sanderson is expected to give evidence next week alongside Paltrow’s children Apple, 18, and Moses, 14, and husband Brad Falchuk.
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