Tears, camera, action: Top 5 moments from Gwyneth Paltrow’s ski-slope collision trial

The trial over Gwyneth Paltrow’s Utah ski slope debacle concluded its first week with the lifestyle guru testifying she thought she was being sexually assaulted during the 2016 encounter.

Dr. Terry Sanderson claims the “negligent collision” with Paltrow seven years ago at the high-end Deer Valley Resort in Utah left him brain-damaged.

Sanderson sued the Goop founder, and the wellness influencer fired back with a “symbolic” $1 countersuit. 

Paltrow and Sanderson’s loved ones have been called to testify in the Park City courtroom.

Sanderson himself is expected to take the stand on Monday. 

Paltrow’s children with ex-husband, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin – Apple Martin, 18, and 16-year-old Moses Martin – are slated to testify in the coming days.

Her current husband, Brad Falchuk, is also expected to be called. 

The trial has grabbed headlines covering topics ranging from the star’s outfits to the media attention to emails from Sanderson claiming he was “famous.” 

Here are the top five moments in the trial so far. 

Paltrow takes stand, claims fear of sexual assault

The 50-year-old actress defiantly took the stand on Friday while dressed in black, with her long hair down.

“I was hit by Mr. Sanderson, and he was at fault,” she said.

“I was hit by Mr. Sanderson, and he was at fault,” Gwyneth Paltrow testified.

Paltrow was skiing with her kids, who were 11 and 9 at the time, and Falchuk – then her new beau – and his children. 

She testified that she was skiing with an instructor who told her after the crash that he would exchange Paltrow’s information with Sanderson.

Paltrow said she left the crash scene to reunite with her children.

Gwyneth Paltrow.
Paltrow claimed that during the crash she thought someone was trying to sexually assault her.

Paltrow then described how she feared someone was trying to sexually assault her because someone had crashed into her and was “groaning and grunting in a very disturbing way.” 

“I was skiing and two skis came between my skis, forcing my legs apart, and then there was a body pressing against me,” she told the court. “And there was a very strange grunting noise. So, my brain was trying to make sense of what was happening.”

“My mind was going very, very quickly, and I was trying to ascertain what was happening,” she went on. She later added: “Our bodies were almost spooning. And I moved away quickly.”

Sanderson: ‘I’m famous’

Paltrow’s attorney revealed in his Tuesday opening statement that Sanderson, 76, emailed his daughters shortly after the crash and wrote, “I’m famous.” 

Sanderson, a 76-year-old retired optometrist from Salt Lake City, said he suffered broken ribs and a concussion that has left him permanently brain damaged. 

Terry Sanderson arrives at court.
Terry Sanderson claims to have suffered broken ribs and a concussion that has left him permanently brain damaged. 

Dr. Wendell Gibby describes an MRI showing the brain of Terry Sanderson.
Dr. Wendell Gibby describes an MRI showing the brain of Terry Sanderson.

He allegedly sent the email hours after the crash, to which one of his daughters responded she could not believe the collision “was caught on GoPro,” Paltrow attorney Steve Owens told the court. 

Owens said the GoPro footage is now missing. 

Camera complaints

Owens griped Wednesday about the media presence covering Paltrow and cameras at times getting “in her face.” 

The attorney pointed at a camera in the courtroom on Wednesday as he whined about “a new camera pointed directly at my client.”

Paltrow shields her face with a blue notebook as she exits a courtroom, Tuesday.
Paltrow shields her face with a blue notebook as she exits the courtroom, Tuesday.

“This has been a problem, for instance reporters being in front of my client’s car, going out yesterday. Cameras in her face,” he went on. 

The judge ruled the cameras should instead remain pointed at the person talking. 

Tears in court

Sanderson became an “angry person” after the crash, and his behavioral changes have impacted his relationships with loved ones, including a granddaughter, his daughters testified. 

Shae Sanderson Herath, his 52-year-old daughter, described through tears how her father went from someone with a “zest for life” to a “very insecure” person who “doesn’t trust his brain anymore.” 

Shae Herath.
Shae Herath described how her father, Terry Sanderson, became an “angry person” after the crash.

Herath went on to describe how her father’s demeanor changed so much that it has changed his relationship with her daughter, Sanderson’s granddaughter.

 “She doesn’t like my dad,” she said. “She doesn’t like him.” 

Lawyer apologizes for being an ‘ass’

Owens apologized on day 3 of the trial for a tense moment earlier in the trial, when he asked Sanderson’s daughter if she believed her sister was a liar. 

Polly Sanderson Grasham, another of Sandersons’ daughters, was on the stand when Owen questioned her repeatedly about one of her sisters’ allegations that their father was abusive. 

Polly Grasham.
Paltrow’s attorney apologized to Polly Grasham for badgering her during earlier questioning.

Grasham stopped short of calling her father abusive and instead said Sanderson had “relentlessly tried to mold” her sister, Jenny. Jenny was initially expected to testify but ultimately refused. 

Owen then asked if Grasham believed her Jenny was a liar, with the woman responding, “sometimes we experience events differently.” 

The attorney returned after a lunch break and acknowledged the terse questioning. 

“I need to apologize, I was being an ass earlier,” he said. “It was wrong for me to triangulate you, your dad, your sister, and your mom. I ask for your forgiveness.”

With Elizabeth Rosner and Ben Kessler

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