Chip Off The Block
Mel Gibson is a controversial figure. It is hard for the public to balance their love for his awe-inspiring, award-winning movies with their hatred of his spiteful, raving comments about various groups. There are many infamous incidents that have defined his image. Mel’s relationship with Oksana Grigorieva reached its low point when he allegedly physically assaulted her. It was so bad that it caused her to get a concussion and chipped the veneers on her front teeth.
Mel’s first wife was Robyn Moore, who he met in Australia after filming Mad Max. The two tied the knot in 1980, and had a whopping seven children: Hannah, Edward, Christian, William, Louis, Milo, and Thomas. One thing that Gibson probably regretted is that they did not sign a prenuptial agreement. After 26 years, they separated, and after 31 years, they finalized the divorce. It was financially devastating for Gibson, who lost half of his assets, about $400 million, to his ex-wife.
The Last Straw
Robyn decided to separate from Mel one day after his infamous DUI arrest, leading many to believe that she did not want to deal with his alcohol-related issues anymore. Mel started drinking at age 13. Gibson was always able to hold it together, even as he drank five pints of beer in the morning. When Mel let Lethal Weapon 2 director Richard Donner know how much he had been drinking, he was shocked, as Mel never showed any signs of impairment.
Baby Mama Drama
During the time of his expensive, drawn-out first divorce, Mel Gibson started dating Oksana Grigorieva, a Russian pianist. They had a daughter together, named Lucia. Before little Lucia turned one, however, they separated, amid claims of domestic violence. Oksana recorded Mel yelling at her, saying he would, “come and burn the … house down,” and that if she got assaulted it would be her fault. Mel alleged that she “deserved” being hit in the face. When the tapes surfaced, he claimed they were edited and taken out of context.
After the tapes surfaced, the court battle got very heated. Eventually, both sides got tired of it, and were considering to settle out of court. Eventually, they agreed on a $750,000 deal that had a lot of stipulations, including that Oksana could not speak publicly about any of what happened between her and Mel. However, she spoke to Howard Stern on his show in 2013, she let some details slipped, and a court ruled Mel could stop paying her, leaving her with a relatively paltry $250,000.
Defenders Of Mel
Civil rights activists and the general public was outraged at the recordings of Gibson that included threats of violence towards Oksana as well as many racist epithets. William Morris Endeavor, his agency, dropped him the same day the recordings surfaced. However, some stepped up to defend him. Jodi Foster said, “he’s certainly not sexist and certainly not racist,” he’s just, “somebody who’s really emotional.” Whoopi Goldberg said he was a “bonehead,” but not racist. Joy Behar didn’t agree, saying, “A lot of people drink and don’t say those things.”
Mel Gibson bounced back from all his relationship drama with a new girlfriend, Rosalind Ross. She is a huge name in the Equestrian Vaulting world, which is a little-known sport where people essentially pull off incredible feats of gymnastics while also riding a horse. Despite her success in that field, she transitioned to become a screenwriter. Ross applied for a job at Icon, Gibson’s production company, and shortly after they started dating, despite the fact that here is a 34 year gap between them.
Ninth Gibson Kid
The twenty-something and the sixty-something decided that they wanted a kid of their own, despite the fact that Gibson already had eight kids. Addressing their age difference, Gibson shrugs off the notion saying, “she is an adult and we dig each other.” The romance became serious when Gibson brought Ross to Costa Rica, where he has a 500-acre jungle compound. In 2017, they had a son, Lars Gerard Gibson, and Mel was reportedly, “over the moon,” over the birth.
Fued With Joe Eszterhas
Joe Eszterhas is a screenwriter who worked with Mel to develop a movie about the Jewish folk hero Judah the Maccabee. However, things fell apart when Joe claimed that Mel would go off on highly offensive anti-semitic rants. Eszterhas claims that he was used by Mel; Gibson promised to make this film simply to fix his image as an anti-Semite, and then decided not to develop it when he realized he was out of the public’s ire. It got worse when Mel scared Joe’s son half to death.
Mel’s fued with Joe Eszterhas got personal when the pair went down to Gibson’s Costa Rica estate to work on the Judah the Maccabee script. Joe says one, “eternal regret,” of his was bringing his family with him, as Mel would regularly blow up, ranting and raving, and destroying furniture. Mel threatened Oksana in a graphic way to fifteen-year-old Nick Eszterhas, to the point where his violent actions and speech made Joe bolt the door and had Nick sleep with a butchers knife under his pillow.
Joe Eszterhas penned a letter to Mel, outlining how Gibson had traumatized his family, and how the screenwriter regrets having spent two years writing a movie “for a man who hates Jews.” Eszterhas went as far to say that Mel, “shares the mindset of Adolf Hitler.” Mel replied in his own letter, saying he was, in fact, “passionate and intense,” but that most of the statements in Joe’s letter were, “utter fabrications.” Eszterhas, to reply to this, released a recording his son had of Gibson ranting and shouting expletives.
The Passion Of The Christ
Gibson is staunchly Christian, saying “there is no salvation for those outside the Church.” It is no surprise that he decided to direct The Passion Of The Christ, which documents the last twelve hours of Jesus’ life. The film was widely controversial, especially to Jewish groups, who claimed the film portrayed Jews as, “evil cabal,” who “relentlessly pursued” Jesus. Further, the Jews were portrayed with, “big noses and gnarly faces, lumpish bodies, and yellow teeth.” Gibson responded to critics with strong words.
Threatening The Dog
When asked if The Passion Of The Christ was meant to offend Jews, he said, “It’s not meant to. I think it’s meant to just tell the truth. I want to be as truthful as possible.” Frank Rich is a writer who disagreed. He published a harshly critical piece on Passion, saying anti-Semitic elements were intentionally written into the script. This angered Mel to the point where he got violent. “I want to kill him…I want his intestines on a stick…I want to kill his dog.”
Under The Influence
Mel has been struggling with alcohol abuse for a long time, and has run into many legal issues because of it. In 1984, Mel was driving under the influence in Toronto, and rear-ended a car. After being stripped of the right to drive in the province of Ontario, an embarrassed Gibson went to Australia to work on his drinking issues, but they persisted. It is not surprising, as he says that, “alcoholism is something that runs in [his] family.”
Infamous Traffic Stop
On the 27th of July, 2006, Mel Gibson went out for some drinks at Moonshadows bar in Malibu. “I try to take care of myself. I quit smoking last week,” Gibson told a barfly who complimented him on his youthful looks. However, Gibson continued to say he could, “just can’t quit,” drinking. By the time 2 AM rolled around, Gibson was drunk. People in the bar offered him a ride home, and tried to take his keys, but it was to no avail.
Intoxicated, Gibson was speeding in his Lexus- going just about double the speed limit in a 45 miles per hour zone. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Officer James Mee saw the brazen driving and pulled the car over. Gibson, in the face of the Sheriff’s flashing lights, suddenly felt reality hitting him very hard. “My life is over. … Robyn’s going to leave me,” Gibson allegedly said. This was prescient, as she did, in fact, leave him the next day, which he knew before the infamous rant.
It’s All Over
There were rumors that Robyn had told Mel not to, “do anything to embarrass us before [their daughter’s upcoming] wedding.” Once he was pulled over, he knew, and said out loud, to effect, that his life was over. Other accounts suggest that Mel got stressed out filming Apocalypto in the Mexican Jungle and started drinking hard again. Word got back to Robyn, and she allegedly gathered her things and left him before he came back. Either way, Gibson felt he was done for during this traffic stop.
Gibson realized immediately the consequences of this traffic stop on his relationship. One friend speculated that “he felt that he had just absolutely failed as a human being,” and started ranting in an unhinged fashion as he was, ” trying to invite death by cop.” These morbid thoughts were not his first. In his thirties, Gibson admitted to being, “desperate … jump-out-of-a-window kind of desperate.” This is perhaps why Gibson was able to play the suicidal Riggs so well in the Lethal Weapon series.
Whether he was trying to get Sheriff James Mee to shoot him or not, we all remember the drunken diatribe from the two-time Oscar winner that evening. Gibson ranted: “The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world. Are you a Jew?” It turned out the James Mee was Jewish, but he remained professional in the moment when dealing with Mel. Gibson, on the other hand, threatened Mee, saying, “I own Malibu,” and that he was going to destroy the Sheriff.
People were absolutely outraged by Mel’s rant. Agent Ari Emanuel said that Gibson should be “professionally shun[ned].” Gibson did apologize, though, admitting he, “said things [he] do[es] not believe to be true and which are despicable,” and that he was feeling, “deeply ashamed.” Gibson said he was meeting with Jewish leaders to have a “discussion to discern the appropriate path for healing.” One person who did believe his remorse was genuine was Filipino Jew and friend Dean Devlin, as Mel was, “was hurting in his voice,” during the apology.
Not The First Time
Perhaps Mel’s apology to the Jewish community and to the public was sincere, as he has said offensive things before, and has not only not apologized for them, but refused to in a shameless way. In 1991, in an interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais, Gibson gave his opinion on the homosexual community. He laughed about their lifestyle and habits. Years later, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation asked for his public apology for the comments. Gibson said he would only, “apologize when hell freezes over.”
Gibson has tried to move on from the infamous DUI and rant. At first, he was, “very stubborn about it for a long time,” according to a friend. Now, though, Mel realized all his drinking and the drama that came along with it, “was a distraction from his work. Mel wants to be remembered for his work.” Maybe the best clue that Mel is showing, “remorse over his past behavior,” is that he has been able to stay away from the bottle.
An Amazing Thing
Gibson has managed to stay sober for a decade, through his attendance and service at Alcoholics Anonymous. Mel is, “feeling good,” and sees the traffic stop as, ” a dim thing in the past.” Gibson does get annoyed though, as people still bring it up. “For one episode in the back of a police car on eight double tequilas to sort of dictate all the work, life’s work and beliefs and everything else that I have and maintain for my life is really unfair,” Mel says.
On The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Mel did a segment where he and Stephen laid on a picnic blanket and pondered his past. He joked about his mistakes as it looks like enough time had passed to make the tragedy into a comedy. When Colbert asked him, “hey Mel-Mels, when you look back on your life, do you think you’ll have any regrets?” Mel thought about it, and responded, “No, no not one,” but then came in with the punchline, “they tend to come in clusters.”
Colbert went on to question Mel, “If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?” Gibson spouted off some platitudes, saying, “don’t be so caught up in the little things. Take advantage of all the gifts the world has to offer,” and then he delivered the punchline, “I’d also tell myself, my younger self, to shut … up.” The distance and maturity Mel feels from the incidents of his past is perhaps why he has decided to film a sequel to Passion called Resurrection.
Roots Of Sexism
In a 1995 interview, Mel shows that he is ultraconservative in the sense that he carries on traditional views of the church, even though women may be offended by his beliefs. When asked if women should be allowed to be priests, he said, “I’ll get kicked around for saying it, but men and women are just different. They’re not equal.” Gibson went on further to talk about feminists directly, saying they, “don’t like me, and I don’t like them. I don’t get their point.”
Mel seems to believe in conspiracies. When asked about then-president Clinton, he said that Bill was but a puppet. Gibson went on to talk about the Rhodes scholarship as a sort of Marxist plot to groom the next world leaders. “Cecil Rhodes established the Rhodes scholarship for those young men and women who want to strive for a new world order,” Gibson declared. He also believes that all the presidents who were assassinated were killed because they were trying to do, “something … with the Federal Reserve.”
The theory of evolution, put together by Charles Darwin, laid the foundation on which all of modern biology lays upon. Mel weighed in, saying, “it’s a nice theory, but I can’t swallow it. There’s a big credibility gap.” The actor went on to doubt the scientific methodology used to understand the world. “The carbon dating thing that tells you how long something’s been around, how accurate is that, really? I’ve got one of Darwin’s books at home and some of that stuff is pretty … funny,” Gibson said.
Hutton Gibson’s Questionable Beliefs
When you look at Hutton Gibson, Mel’s father, it is not hard to understand why Mel seems to believe in conspiracies. Perhaps most controversially, Hutton raises doubt about the Holocaust, going so far as to say it was, “mostly fictional.” As proof, Hutton recommends to, “ask an undertaker or the guy who operates the crematorium what it takes to get rid of a dead body … It takes one liter of petrol and 20 minutes. Now, six million?” Mel never explicitly agreed, but said his father, “never lied to [him].”
Gibson holds viewpoints that stem from his Christian beliefs, including a pro-life stance. In an interview with Barbara Walters, he said, “God is the only one who knows how many children we should have, and we should be ready to accept them. One can’t decide for oneself who comes into this world and who doesn’t. That decision doesn’t belong to us.” Coming from a family with 10 brothers and sisters, and 9 kids of his own, it seems like he lives by his words.