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Riley Utley

Gwyneth Paltrow Won Her Ski Crash Trial, But The Wild Moments Leading Up To The Verdict Will Live On

Gwyneth Paltrow in court

Was Gwyneth Paltrow’s ski crash trial the trial of the century, no. Was it even the biggest legal news of the week? No. But was it entertaining, 100% yes. Now, after eight days of odd questions, statements that might feel unrelated to the trial, and a lot of memes, Gwyneth Paltrow won the trial over a ski crash incident that happened back in 2016. While the trial might be over, the moments from it are bound to live on.

The basics of this trial are: Terry Sanderson claimed, via The Guardian, that Paltrow crashed into him while skiing causing “permanent traumatic brain injury, four broken ribs, pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress and disfigurement.” While Paltrow explained she was actually crashed into by Sanderson, and “lost half a day of skiing” ( a day worth $9,000 according to the publication). This high-profile trial involving statements from the retired optometrist, retired actress and her kids about a very odd incident that you don’t typically see in court caused a ruckus on social media as people latched onto the #Gwynocent trend, and started following the proceedings. Now that it’s over, it’s interesting to reflect on all the wild moments from this trial and try to figure out which memorable lines and decisions will live on forever.

Kristin Van Orman’s Seemingly Random And Unrelated Comments About Gwyneth Paltrow

Let’s start with the seemingly random comments Terry Sanderson’s lawyer Kristin Van Orman made while questioning Paltrow. The lawyer was talking about the incident that happened in 2016, and she made a lot of comments that were seemingly unrelated to the trial, and if she weren’t the plaintiff’s attorney maybe would have sounded like compliments. 

The Washington Post compiled a video of moments when this happened that feature Van Orman telling Paltrow she “probably had the best ski outfit” on the mountain, saying she figured Paltrow would be a good tipper, and asking how tall the Goop owner was. After the Iron Man star answered with 5 ft. 10 in. that line of questioning seemed to be put to rest after the lawyer said she wished she could be that tall. However, this moment came full circle when Van Orman was asking Paltrow about how she yelled when the crash happened, the lawyer said: 

You're small but mighty. Actually, you're not that small.

Talk about odd, I couldn’t quite figure out why Van Orman was asking about all these various topics, and awkwardly complimenting Paltrow, but no matter what it was pretty entertaining. 

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Description Of The Crash 

One of the more awkward moments of the trial came when Paltrow was asked to describe the crash. She explained that the collision felt like “sexual assault,” saying Sanderson ran into her from behind. Her exact words after being asked about why she compared the crash to sexual assault were, per TMZ

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. My mind was going very quickly.

She was then asked to act out what she meant, however, that idea was quickly turned down and did not happen.  

This whole case has been centered around who crashed into whom, and when Paltrow took the stand it was with this statement that she made it clear she believed that Sanderson crashed into her from behind.

(Image credit: Photo by Ethan Miller/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management)

What Does Taylor Swift Have To Do With This?

Much like Swift when she sued DJ David Mueller for $1 in damages in 2015 for sexual assault, per People, Paltrow sued Sanderson for a symbolic $1. This action taken by Paltrow led Van Orman to ask about the actress’s relationship with the popstar, questioning, per EW

You learned about that through Taylor Swift because she asked for $1 in symbolic damages — is that right?

Paltrow said she was not aware at the time, and this led the lawyer to ask if the Goop owner was good friends with Swift. To which Paltrow responded with:

No. I would not say we're good friends. We're friendly. I've taken my kids to one of her concerts before, but we don't talk very often.

The lawyer then went on to question Paltrow about if she’d gifted Swift anything, however, the line of questioning was sustained by the judge. 

Is It Cool To Collide With A Celebrity?

It was revealed during the trial that Sanderson had sent his kids an email after the crash that said “I’m famous.” When asked about this odd message, considering the trial, the retired optometrist said, via The Daily Beast

My head was scrambled. All I was trying to do 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 went on to say he was just “trying to add some levity to a serious situation,” and admitted that “it backfired.” This moment truly becomes wild when Sanderson explained that “celebrity worship” is not something he’s into, and he did not think it was cool to collide with a celebrity, saying: “That’s not who I am.” What an odd way to end a conversation about the subject of an email.

(Image credit: Photo by Rick Bowmer-Pool/Getty Images))

‘I Wish You Well…’ And The Memes That Followed

Paltrow had a classy response after winning the lawsuit, seemingly telling Sanderson:

I wish you well.

Many have picked up on this moment, and turned it into a meme. The moment came after the jury spent a couple of hours deliberating the verdict, and ultimately sided with the former actress. She won $1 and Sanderson will have to pay her attorney’s fees, and the retired optometrist will not get the $300,000 he was asking for in damages.

This one-liner that ended the trail led to many posts poking fun at the moment, as people uploaded memes like this one from Tom Zohar:

Overall, this moment was like the icing on the cake of this bizarre and a little bit funny trial.

In the end, this trail has been very odd, and following it has honestly been pretty fun. The internet quickly took the moments mentioned and meme-ed them, and now the trial of Gwyneth Paltrow’s ski crash will live on forever.

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