Gwyneth Paltrow ski collision trial: Terry Sanderson apologizes for calling actress 'King Kong,' says trial shows the 'pain of trying to sue a celebrity'

Terry Sanderson
Terry Sanderson, left, is suing Paltrow in Summit County, Utah.AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, Pool
  • The man who sued Gwyneth Paltrow over a 2016 ski crash took the stand again on Wednesday.

  • His testimony was the final one in the case, and he reiterated that he thought Paltrow was at fault.

  • He also apologized for calling the actress "King Kong," claiming he meant another character.

The man suing Gwyneth Paltrow and claiming she bore responsibility for a 2016 ski collision in Utah reiterated his stance in a final testimony, offering a parting apology for calling the actress "King Kong," in a 2019 press conference.

Sanderson took the stand for the last time on Wednesday, a day before jurors found Paltrow not liable for the collision, in a verdict that placed the fault for the crash on Sanderson. The retired optometrist again attributed his injuries and mental anguish after the crash to Paltrow, but also made clear that he didn't think that Paltrow sounded like the Gorilla "King-Kong" but instead the female protagonist from the film, Ann Darrow.

During cross-examination, Paltrow's attorney Steve Owens asked Sanderson, "did you compare my client to King Kong coming out of the jungle?" in reference to a 2019 press conference where Sanderson announced the lawsuit.

Sanderson agreed that he used the moniker and explained himself during direct questioning by his lawyer Kristin Van Orman.

"My apologies to Ms. Paltrow, my intention was to say it sounded like the lady getting chased by King Kong out of a jungle," Sanderson said, referring to the noise Paltrow allegedly made ahead of the crash. "The silence was broken by a hysterical scream, the very best hysterical scream you've ever heard."

Last week, Paltrow was defiant as she took the stand, claiming that Sanderson, "categorically" hit her at the Deer Valley ski resort in Utah. Sanderson and his lawyers have maintained that he was downhill from her, and that she hit him from behind, breaking three of his ribs and leaving him with a traumatic brain injury. Her children supported her claims through depositions read in court, as did a ski instructor teaching Paltrow's son Moses Martin that day.

After Sanderson sued the "Goop" creator in 2019, Paltrow countersued Sanderson for negligence as well, alleging that he crashed into her. The trial is centered around the dueling negligence claims, where Sanderson originally sought $3 million in damages and Paltrow is seeking $1, plus reimbursed attorney fees.

On Wednesday, Sanderson was grilled about trips he took to Morocco, the Netherlands, Peru, and to several states around the US in the months after the crash.

"Part of the healing process was that I was told to get back to your routine," Sanderson said, adding that he no longer traveled alone after the crash.

He was asked by Owens if he understood that his personal life was being broadcast as a consequence of him bringing the lawsuit against Paltrow.

"Well I can never go on another dating site again, I've been fleshed out," Sanderson said, cracking a wry smile. "It's the pain of trying to sue a celebrity."


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