Did Gwyneth Paltrow have a real-life Sliding Doors moment?
There's a story circulating that claims the actress' had a brief run-in on 9/11 that may just have saved a fan from almost-certain death.
E! News can confirm that this rumor is…
Paltrow's rep confirmed to E! News a story appearing in The Morton Report, in which Lara Lundstrom Clarke says an unexpected encounter with Paltrow on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 saved her life by making her late for work on the 77th floor of the World Trade Center's South Tower. Her tardiness meant she was not in the building when the terrorist-manned plane flew into the building.
Clarke, then a 24-year-old account manager at Baseline Financial Services, was on her way to work shortly before 9 a.m. and about to jaywalk across the street to catch the 1/9 train in Tribeca when the Oscar winner abruptly cut her off in her silver Mercedes.
"I stopped and they screeched to a halt. Then it developed in to one of those classic who-goes-first situations. It got ridiculous. Then I made eye contact with the Mercedes driver. OMG it was Gwyneth Paltrow," she recalled..
That chance encounter ended up being more fateful than Clarke could have ever imagined.
"I crossed and she continued on her way," she told the website. "At least if I was late for work I had a story to tell."
As it happened, Lara was late. Similar to a fateful moment for Paltrow's character in Sliding Doors, Clarke missed her train, running down the subway stairs only to find its doors sliding shut leaving her behind. The delay meant that Clarke got to the World Trade Center after the terrorist attack, saving her from being in the skyscraper and the plane crash and fires that subsequently engulfed her floor.
Now she's grateful. And forever haunted by it.
"If I had made that train I would have been at my desk on the 77th floor of 2 World Trade Center," Clarke said.
Clarke has subsequently written a letter of thanks to Paltrow.
A rep for Paltrow confirmed to E! News that the incident with the Sliding Doors star did indeed occur.
"Yes, it is true and we have seen the report," said Paltrow's publicist, Stephen Huvane. "She was deeply moved by Lara's story."
—Additional Reporting by Marcus Mulick