Gwyneth Paltrow has spoken out following her victory in a years-long legal battle with Terry Sanderson, a retired optometrist who accused the Hollywood megastar and Goop mogul of crashing into him on a Utah ski slope in 2016.
After two hours and 20 minutes of deliberation, a Utah jury ruled that Paltrow was not responsible for the accident and awarded her a symbolic $1.
Following the verdict, Paltrow was seen leaning over and speaking to Mr Sanderson as she left the courtroom.
He told reporters that she had touched his shoulder and whispered: “I wish you well.” Mr Sanderson said he responded: “Thank you, dear.”
The lawsuit dug into deeply personal details of Mr Sanderson’s medical situation and psychology, with Paltrow’s lawyer, Steven Owens, telling the court that his client had become a “punching bag” for Mr Sanderson and his family, adding: “He hurt her and then he asked $3m for the pleasure of it.”
In the aftermath of the verdict, Paltrow said: “I felt that acquiescing to a false claim compromised my integrity. I am pleased with the outcome and I appreciate all of the hard work of Judge Holmberg and the jury, and thank them for their thoughtfulness in handling this case.”
Meanwhile, Mr Sanderson said he stands by his version of events. When asked what he plans to do now, he joked “maybe Disneyland!” His lawyer, Kristin van Orman, described him as a “very nice man” who is “suffering”.
The trial has been ongoing for several years and was marked by intense media interest, as it pitted a wealthy and famous Hollywood star against an elderly retired optometrist.
Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, Mr Sanderson’s legal team said that their client had suffered greatly since the incident and that they were considering an appeal.
Despite the intense media scrutiny, Paltrow maintained her composure throughout the trial and spoke of her desire to defend herself against what she saw as a “false claim”.
Her victory in the case marks the end of a long and difficult legal battle and is sure to be a relief to the Hollywood star and her supporters.
The exchange between Paltrow and Mr Sanderson following the verdict has attracted particular attention, with some interpreting it as a sign of goodwill and others as a cynical attempt to spin the outcome of the case.
Whatever the interpretation, it is clear that both Paltrow and Mr Sanderson are keen to move on from the incident and put the legal battle behind them.
For Paltrow, the verdict is a vindication of her decision to fight the lawsuit and defend her reputation. For Mr Sanderson, it is a setback in his quest for justice and compensation for the injuries he claims to have suffered.
However, both will be able to take comfort in the fact that the legal battle is over and that they can now focus on moving forward with their lives.