Gwyneth Paltrow says she first thought ski crash was sexual assault and ‘froze’

Gwyneth Paltrow says she briefly thought a 2016 ski collision was in fact a sexual assault and “froze” when a set of skis suddenly “forced my legs apart.”

Terry Sanderson claims Paltrow slammed into him in a “full body hit” leaving him with “permanent traumatic brain injury, four broken ribs, pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress and disfigurement”.

Mr Sanderson is seeking $300,000 in damages from the Oscar winner after alleging that he was left with permanent brain damage following the accident at the Deer Valley resort in Utah.

The Hollywood star has denied the claims and told the court that it was Mr Sanderson who caused the accident by skiing into the back of her as she made her way down the mountain.

She explained to the jury exactly what she believed happened when she finally took to the witness stand on day four of the high-profile trial in Park City, Utah.

“His body pressed into my back so I froze, I don’t know how far the skis came through but I felt his body pressing against my back,” the Oscar-winning actor told the court in Utah on Friday.

“There was a body pressing against me and there was a very strange, grunting noise,” Ms Paltrow said. “My brain was trying to make sense of what was happening.”

And she added: “I thought, is this a practical joke? Is someone doing something perverted? This is very strange.”

Ms Paltrow was quick to tell the court that she was not in any way accusing Mr Sanderson of sexual assault.

“I was trying to put together what could possibly be going on behind me,” she added.

She told the court that she did not remember screaming at Mr Sanderson after the accident but had been “very angry at what had happened.”

During her testimony, Kristin VanOrman, one of Mr Sanderson’s lawyers, walked around the courtroom to demonstrate where her skis had been and how Ms Paltrow and Mr Sanderson had been positioned.

Ms Paltrow leaned out of the witness box and directed Ms VanOrman on how her skis had been positioned.