10 Things You Didn’t Know About Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson’s career in Hollywood has been one heck of a rollercoaster ride, not only for the actor, but for his fans and those who he works with as well. Gibson’s trajectory in the entertainment industry has been well recorded from his beloved Mad Max and Lethal Weapon days, to recent years which included being blacklisted from Hollywood. Now, the actor and director is attempting to make a comeback, so here are 10 things not widely known about the star:
10. Getting Into Acting
After attending St. Leo’s Catholic College in Wahroonga, New South Wales, and Asquith Boys High School, Gibson studied drama at the New Zealand Drama School which led to his acceptance at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in Sydney. After graduating from NIDA, Gibson was roommates with none other than Geoffrey Rush as the pair were with the same acting company, Jane Street. Interestingly enough after high school, Gibson did not have a lot of interest in acting and was considering becoming a chef or a journalist, but his sister sent in his application to NIDA without him knowing and he was accepted despite having no previous acting experience.
While he may seems serious and downright mean now, Gibson has been well known for being quite the prankster in Hollywood. Gibson is well known for his “Three Stooges” type of comedy and often pulls pranks on-set with those he is working with, and is said to have actors perform serious scenes while wearing a red clown nose in order to ease tension. He is also known for mooning the cast he is working with, and famously sent his Conspiracy Theory co-star Julia Roberts a freeze-dried rat as a joke.
8. Early Life
Mel Colmcille Gerard Gibson was born on January 3, 1965 in Peekskill, New York. Gibson was the sixth of eleven children born to Hutton Gibson and Anne Patricia, and his father worked as a writer and railroad worker. After his father was awarded $145,000 in a lawsuit against the New York Central Railroad after suffering a work-related injury, he moved his entire family to West Pymble, Sydney, Australia when Mel was 12.
7. Alcohol Abuse
Unfortunately, like far too many stars, Mel Gibson has had a lengthy and difficult battle with alcohol abuse. Gibson has admitted that he started drinking at the age of only 13, and over the years has had many issues arise from his alcoholism. In 1984 he was suspended from driving in Ontario after he rear-ended another car while under the influence. What was most shocking was his professionalism and dedication to his work despite his problem, admitting to his Lethal Weapon 2 director that he was drinking around five pints of beer for breakfast. In 1991, Gibson sought therapy and took a break from acting to get help, and while he seemed to be on the right track for years, it was clear Gibson had not succeeded in staying sober after he was arrested in 2006 in L.A. for driving under the influence and having an open container of alcohol in his car.
6. The Recordings
After his 2006 DUI and subsequent divorce, Gibson’s career drastically went downhill, which was exaggerated by the arrest report that stated that Gibson blew up at the arresting officer, stating, “F–king Jews…the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world. Are you a Jew?” Making matters worse, the Sheriff’s Deputy was in fact Jewish. Despite offering apologies, Gibson was essentially blacklisted from Hollywood, and things only got worse in 2010 when audio recordings of Gibson allegedly talking to his then-girlfriend Oskana Grigorieva in which he made some very vulgar and racist remarks. As a result of the recordings going viral, Gibson was dropped by his agency and the actor was labelled as racist, sexist, and anti-Semitic. In 2011, the actor spoke out about the incident stating, “I’ve never treated anyone badly or in a discriminatory way based on their gender, race, religion or sexuality – period. I don’t blame some people for thinking that though, from the garbage they heard on those leaked tapes, which have been edited. You have to put it all in the proper context of being in an irrationally, heated discussion at the height of a breakdown, trying to get out of a really unhealthy relationship. It’s one terribly awful moment in time, said to one person, in the span of one day and doesn’t represent what I truly believe or how I’ve treated people my entire life.”
5. Mental Illness
Along with a battle with alcoholism, Gibson has had lengthy struggle with mental illness stating in 2002, “I had really good highs but some very low lows. I found out recently I’m manic depressive.” According to the actor, by his mid-30s he was seriously contemplating suicide because he didn’t know how to get a handle on his drinking. There were multiple reports as well that after his wife filed for divorce and Gibson was arrested for drunk driving as he was shouting anti-Semitic remarks at the cop in an attempt to get the police officer to shoot him in a “death by cop” suicide attempt. Gibson later stated that he used the making of 2004’s The Passion of the Christ as a way to “heal” himself.
4. Missed Roles
After hitting it big with Mad Max and then making his way to American films with his appearance in Mark Ryder’s 1984 film The River, Gibson’s success skyrocketed further with his portrayal of Martin Riggs in Lethal Weapon. Thanks to his good looks, charm and tough exterior, many sought out Gibson for several major roles which he had to pass on. He was up for the role of James Bond in 1987’s The Living Daylights and 1995’s Goldeneye, but lost out to Timothy Dalton for the former because he wasn’t British and had to pass on the latter because he was too busy filming Braveheart. He was then considered for the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne in 1989’s Batman, but the role went to Michael Keaton because Gibson was too busy filming Lethal Weapon 2.
3. Personal Life
Fans are well aware that Mel Gibson’s personal life has been extremely messy for most of his career and it hasn’t gotten much better in recent years. When Gibson was still a relatively unknown actor, he met Robyn Denise Moore, a dental assistant, and the pair married in June of 1980. Together they welcomed one daughter, Hannah, and six sons: Edward, Christian, William, Louis, Milo and Thomas. Unfortunately after 26 years of marriage they pair separated in 2006, one day after Gibson was arrested for drunk driving in Malibu, and when their divorce was finalized in 2009 it was said to be the highest divorce settlement in Hollywood history as Gibson reportedly gave his ex $400 million. He went on to date Russian pianist Oksana Grigorieva and the pair welcomed a daughter, Lucia, in October of 2009. Now, Gibson is a relationship with equestrian vaulter and writer Rosalind Ross, and the pair are expecting Gibson’s ninth child together.
2. Net Worth
Seeing as how Mel Gibson has appeared in some of Hollywood’s biggest films and was able to settle his divorce for a whopping $400 million, it is safe to say he has a lot of money. What is more surprising, however, is that even through a rough patch in his career and a history-making divorce, Gibson still has an estimated net worth of $425 million!
On top of his at once extremely successful Hollywood career, some of Gibson’s multi-millions have come from his property investments. He owns several properties in Malibu, California, Costa Rica and Australia. In 2004 he also bought Mago Island in Fiji for $15 million which he planned to turn into his own personal retreat. Original inhabitants of the island that had since been displaced protested the sale, but Gibson assured them he planned to retain the “pristine environment” of the island.