Gwyneth 'anxious', 'wary', 'tense' in court, body language expert says

Gwyneth Paltrow was ‘anxious’, ‘wary’ and ‘tense’ when she took the stand in $300,000 ski hit-and-run case but recovered to give off ‘headteacher-ish authority’ during her testimony, body language expert claims

  • Gwyneth Paltrow on Friday took the stand in a Park City, Utah, courtroom to testify in the trial over who caused a 2016 ski crash
  • Paltrow claims that Terry Sanderson, 76, skied into her: Sanderson says that Paltrow, 50, hit him, causing broken ribs and brain damage
  • A body language expert has told that Paltrow was tense on the stand during the two hours she testified 

Gwyneth Paltrow was ‘tense’ and anxious on the stand on Friday, a body language expert has claimed after analyzing the actress’s performance in her trial over a ski slope crash.

Paltrow, 50, claims that she was crashed into by Terry Sanderson, a 76-year-old retired ophthalmologist.

Sanderson claims Paltrow hit her, causing broken ribs and brain damage, and is seeking $300,000 in damages. 

The trial in Park City, Utah began on Tuesday and is expected to last until the end of next week.

On Monday the court will hear from Paltrow’s two children with her ex-husband, Coldplay’s Chris Martin – Apple and Moses. Her husband Brad Falchuk will also testify. All three were skiing with Paltrow when the accident happened in February 2016.

Here body language expert Judi James analyzes Paltrow’s behavior.

‘Wary’ glances around the courtroom 

James told that the Goop founder chose her outfit carefully, to avoid being flashy. 

Gwyneth Paltrow was back in court in Utah on Friday for the fourth day of her ski crash trial

Despite blizzard conditions in Park City, the A-lister arrived wearing a $248 pair of mirrored Rayban aviator sunglasses which she paired with a long navy coat, a navy blue dress and a black pair of $1,200 Celine boots

‘Gwyneth arrived in the courtroom dressed in her most demure and dour outfit yet: a mid-length black dress with heavy black boots,’ James noted. 

She said that she looked somewhat nervous as she entered the court.

‘Navigating her way to her seat she threw some wary-looking glances around the room, acknowledging her audience with a brief eye-scan and what looked like the faintest of smiles,’ she said.

Settling down to business 

James said Paltrow was initially unsure of herself, but as she took her seat next to her lawyers became visibly more relaxed and confident.

‘Her lower lip appeared to tremble or pucker slightly at one point, in a gesture of what looked like anxiety – but once she was seated, and after a much quicker than usual smoothing of her now softly-waved hair, she spread her folder out in front of her, licking the tip of her finger to turn the pages in a professional and authoritative-looking manner,’ James said.

A look of authority 

The body language analyst said that Paltrow’s distinctive reading glasses gave her an air of power and command. 

‘At times that look of almost head-teacher-ish authority extended to the stand when she sat peering over the top of a very large pair of thick-framed glasses as she listened,’ said James.

Pride in her married name 

James noted that Paltrow was visibly proud to give the court her full married name.

‘When Paltrow was asked to state her name she performed an almost cheeky-looking smile, apparently enjoying the friendlier engagement.’

Gwyneth Paltrow took the stand in court in Utah Friday for the fourth day of her ski crash trial

James said she was ‘swinging in her seat, more like a schoolchild than a teacher now as she recited what she described as her ‘legal’ name, placing a lot of lip emphasis on the word ‘Falchuk’.’

The positive energy continued for the next few minutes, James said. 

‘She looked positively delighted when the judge asked if he could call her Miss Paltrow, pushing down with her hands to bounce her body up and down in her seat and saying ‘sure’ with a dismissive but good-natured wave of her right hand,’ said James.

The strain of the trial shows

‘There were moments when the trial seemed to be taking its toll though,’ said James.

‘When she was in listening mode her eyes would sometimes look tired and her blink rate rapid, suggesting tension. 

‘She would suck her lips in to add to that air of inner tension, although when she sucked them in with a pursing gesture after she had spoken giving evidence it looked more like a decisive ritual.’

‘Looking like a victim’ 

James said that, towards the end of her testimony, Paltrow relayed the moment of the collision and seemed to show, in her body language, that she felt she was the victim.

Paltrow said she initially believed the collision could be a sexual assault, as she was suddenly aware of a man behind her, with his legs between hers.

Sanderson alleges he was left with four broken ribs and a permanent brain injury. Paltrow denies crashing into the retiree and countersued, saying he was the one who skied into her – leaving her angry and sore

Paltrow, who was one of the first to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, said she quickly realized it was not a sexual attack, but was instead someone crashing into her. 

‘Describing what she says she thought was ‘something perverted’ when the collision occurred, Paltrow began to look like the victim, steepling her brows and raising both hand with her palms facing inward and fingers splayed,’ said James. 

‘She was miming or role-playing moments of the collision as she was speaking. 

‘She mimed her own initial confusion, widening her eyes and shaking her head from side to side.’

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