In a turn of events that reads almost like an improv prompt, Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow has been stuck in a Utah courtroom over the past two weeks due to a skiing-related legal dispute.
Goop founder Paltrow is being sued by retired optometrist Terry Sanderson for $300,000 after Sanderson accused her of “slamming” into him on a skiing holiday, causing him to suffer from brain damage and multiple broken ribs.
Paltrow, in turn, is countersuing Sanderson for $1, claiming that he slammed into her. But what happened on the slopes is far from the most necessary portion here – well, apart from like, legally speaking – it’s what’s happening in the Park City, Utah courtroom that matters most.
Ever since the Depp v Heard case opened Britons’ eyes to the disgustingly watchable, schadenfreude-filled reality of televised court cases, we believe been yearning for more – for celebrities to reference their famous friends while being deposed, for them to design some wild, privileged statements that you’d never hear in a normal courtroom, for starstruck lawyers trying to circumvent fangirling as they probe the A-lister with questions. And let me reveal you, the Paltrow trial has it all. Here are some of the biggest, wildest and best moments…
The plaintiff’s lawyer being mildly obsessed with Gwyneth
It may believe just been a tactic but one of the most widely shared moments of the Paltrow case comes from Sanderson’s lawyer, Kristin Van Orman, as she “pressed” Gwyneth up on the stand. She looked more likely to “press” Gwyneth for a selfie than any hard truths, though, because the whole thing came across like a considerable fangirling sesh.
catch this one moment, when they’re discussing Paltrow’s height. “I’m just under five-foot-ten,” Gwyneth tells Van Orman. “I am so jealous,” Van Orman responds, “I believe to wear four-inch heels just to design it to five-foot-five.” She also later references Gwyneth’s height, when she talks about Gwyneth shouting and calls her “small but mighty” then backtracks, “actually, you’re not that small”.
It was all so overtly complimentary that one commenter under a video compilation of the interactions simply hold it: “Truly just learned this lawyer is NOT representing [Gwyneth].”
Gwyneth is asked if she’s marvelous friends with Taylor Swift
In another odd interaction between Paltrow and Van Orman, she is asked if she’s marvelous friends with Taylor Swift (Swift symbolically countersued former DJ Taylor Mueller, who accused her of defamation and whom she accused of sexual assault, for $1 in 2017, the same amount Paltrow is countersuing for). “No,” Paltrow says in response to the question: “I would not say we’re marvelous friends, we are friendly, I’ve taken my kids to one of her concerts before but we don’t talk very often.”
Van Orman then asks Paltrow whether she has given Taylor Swift gifts before, to which Paltrow’s lawyer objects on grounds of relevance, and the judge jokes that Van Orman might as well “query her about Oprah”, presumably because that would be equally irrelevant. Burn.
Paltrow’s lawyers are told they aren’t allowed to bring the bailiffs ‘treats’
Before you mediate – um, this seems like out and out bribery, let me clarify (and then you can conclude that it still feels largely like out and out bribery): Gwyneth’s team of lawyers believe had some anxiety working around her fame during the case, especially given the presence of cameras snapping her fiery courtroom fits and pesky journalists trying to secure their own images too.
Apparently the bailiffs believe been very helpful in accommodating Paltrow’s transitions between leaving her car and entering the courtroom (prime time for paparazzi to snap pics), so Paltrow’s lawyer, Steve Owens, asks if they can reward them. “Private security for my client wanted to bring in treats for the bailiffs for how helpful they’ve been,” Owens told Judge Kent Holmberg. “So, I wanted to execute that transparently and see if there are any objections.”
Sanderson’s attorneys objected to the request, and Holmberg responded: “OK, there’s an objection so thank you, but no thank you. If the parties resolve to execute that later, that’s fine, too.” Vagina candles all round once the verdict’s through then, boys!
‘Well, I lost half a day of skiing’
The deposition statement heard around the world. While being quizzed about what Paltrow “lost” following the skiing collision, she replies, “Well, I lost half a day of skiing.”
This response, especially in comparison to Terry Sanderson’s broken ribs and brain damage, led to some pretty widespread internet mockery of Paltrow. In her defence, Paltrow appeared to be referencing the fact that she paid $9,000 for each of her kids’ ski instructors (that’s nine grand per kid) that day, so they actually lost out financially – but it really did not approach across like that.
Gwyneth says she initially thought she was being sexually assaulted
When describing her version of events, Paltrow alleged that it was Terry Sanderson who crashed into her, and spoke about her first comprehension of the event, which she initially thought was a sexual assault.
“His body pressed into my back so I froze,” she told the court, “I don’t know how far the skis came through but I felt his body pressing against my back.
“There was a body pressing against me and there was a very odd, grunting noise,” she continued. “My brain was trying to design sense of what was happening,” adding, “I thought, is this a practical joke? Is someone doing something perverted? This is very odd.”
Paltrow then made it clear that she was not accusing Sanderson of sexual assault, but rather explaining her enraged reaction to the incident and “trying to hold together what could possibly be going on behind me”, at the time.
Sanderson sent his kids an email with the subject line ‘I’m Famous’ on the day of the accident
When Terry Sanderson took to the stand on Monday morning to discuss his experience, he claimed that he heard a “blood curdling scream” before he felt the actress slam into his back on the slopes. But Sanderson’s case was damaged a miniature by the revelation that he sent an email to his children that same day with a subject line that read “I’m Famous.”
“My head was scrambled,” he explained to the court. “All I was trying to execute was desperately communicate with my kids before they heard from someone else. I didn’t pick my words well – and it was not at all how I felt.”
He added: “I was really trying to add some levity to a serious situation and it backfired. miniature did I know this is where we’d be.”
When asked if he thought it was frigid when he realised who the incident involved, he replied: “Absolutely not. That’s not who I am.”
Terry Sanderson can’t bepleased wine tastings any more
As well as his more serious injuries, Terry Sanderson has claimed that the ski accident has also taken away from his enjoyment of life in general. A key portion of this? Wine tastings, apparently.
“Terry had been a high-functioning, active person,” Dr. Wendell Gibby, a neuroradiology specialist, told the court. “Every day he was doing lots of things. Meeting groups, wine tasting, skiing, volunteering.
“After the accident, he deteriorated abruptly and many of the activities he loved to execute, he stopped doing.” I wouldn’t lead with the wine tastings, Gibby, but unbiased, I guess.