Gwyneth Paltrow Explains Why 2016 Ski Trip Was 'Significant' for Her Family After Dad Bruce's Death

"I was pretty devastated by his death, and just being in the ski resort and on a chairlift, it was difficult for me, so I avoided it for a few years until I had my own kids," she said

Gwyneth Paltrow explained why the ski trip at the center of the Park City, Utah, civil court case was sentimental and "significant" for her and her family.

The Goop founder, 50, took the stand to testify on Friday, recounting her recollection of the Feb. 26, 2016, ski collision between her and retired doctor Terry Sanderson, now 76. It was a trip she took with her now-husband Brad Falchuk and her two children Apple, 11 at the time, and Moses, 9 at the time, plus Falchuk's two kids Isabella and Brody, who are the same age as Paltrow's kids.

"This was a significant trip for us. It was the first time Brad and I were introducing our kids and doing something together to see if we could blend families," Paltrow told the courtroom.

Earlier in her testimony, the actress also spoke about her late father Bruce Paltrow, who died in 2002 at age 58, and how he taught Gwyneth how to ski. Her attorney, Stephen Owens, had previously said during opening statements on Tuesday that Gwyneth "didn't ski for a long time" after her father's death.

"He loved skiing and he had learned later in life, and so he was determined for my brother and I to learn how to ski when we were young," the actress recalled of her father Friday. "He used to do these really sweet one-on-one ski trips with us where he would take us to various destinations, and Alta was one of them."

Paltrow added, "I was pretty devastated by his death, and just being in the ski resort and on a chairlift, it was difficult for me, so I avoided it for a few years until I had my own kids and then I heard his voice in my head, thinking I should teach them how to ski."

Gwyneth Paltrow (L) and her father Bruce
Gwyneth and Bruce Paltrow in 2001. George De Sota/Getty Images

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During the trial's first day on Tuesday, Gwyneth's attorney Owens asserted in his opening argument that the actress' trip to Deer Valley Resort with her family in 2016 "was a sentimental issue" years after Bruce's death.

"Ms. Paltrow has sentimental feelings about skiing; her dad, who left this life too early, took her skiing as a kid at Alta," Owens said. "She grew up learning to ski and this was a very sentimental trip. In fact, after her dad died in his 50s, she didn't ski for a long time because it was an emotional thing for her."

Gwyneth Paltrow enters the courtroom for her trial, in Park City, Utah, where she is accused in a lawsuit of crashing into a skier during a 2016 family ski vacation, leaving him with brain damage and four broken ribs Gwyneth Paltrow Skiing Lawsuit, Park City, United States - 24 Mar 2023
Rick Bowmer/AP/Shutterstock

"So it was a sentimental issue because she had started getting back into skiing and she did it because she wanted her kids to learn like she had," he added, noting that the trip was her and 52-year-old Falchuk's "first trip to sort of a have a mixed, see-if-this-might-work," as they began to blend families.

Paltrow is being sued by retired Utah optometrist Sanderson, who first filed a lawsuit against her back in January 2019.

The doctor originally requested damages in excess of $3.1 million, claiming the crash resulted in "permanent traumatic brain injury," four broken ribs, pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress and disfigurement. That number has since been lowered to $300,000 by Judge Kent. R. Holmberg. Paltrow, for her part, seeks $1 in damages plus legal fees.

Falchuk, Apple and Moses are expected to testify next week.

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