Mel Gibson: Mad Max to OctoMel
Our blogger chronicles her disappointment over her teenage crush’s really bad choices
-Candace Cavanaugh Buehner
Mel Gibson was People magazine‘s first-ever “Sexiest Man Alive.” I know this because I shelled out my hard-earned babysitting money to pony up $1.50 in 1985 to get a copy so that I could carefully cut out Mel’s picture to put up in my school locker. There, Mel joined The Police and U2 in a collage contingent of Men I Thought Were Cute, Deep, and Slightly Mysterious.
My impression of Mel at that time was based on his appearances in a series of movies I happened to catch then on HBO late night but which history has confirmed to be, in fact, excellent films: Gallipoli (timeless tale of young men off to war), The Year of Living Dangerously (Indonesian unrest in the 1960s, Sigourney Weaver before any plastic surgery misdeeds), and of course, Mad Max (crazy gas seekers in post-apocalyptic Australia–whee!). Mel seemed, well, dangerous and smart, but not nasty–a man’s man who swore like a sailor but who always espoused in interviews his firm belief in Catholicism and his unflagging devotion to his wife, whom he met when he was a struggling young actor in Sydney.
At the beginning of their relationship, Mel’s wife, Robyn, was a nurse, presumably with the steady income and firm wits necessary to allow her husband to pursue his Dream of Becoming an Actor. What happened next, we all know: Mel’s dream wound up coming true far beyond what he and Robyn ever could have imagined. Fame as an actor, brilliance as a director (William Wallace in Braveheart, anyone?), unimaginable wealth (largely due to the aforementioned smart-ness, particularly in terms of back-end profit deals), seven kids (did I mention he was Catholic?), and ultimately, the ability to pursue personal and professional projects that no one would finance, but everyone in the end wished that they had (see: “started his very own parish in Malibu” and/or filmed and financed The Passion of the Christ, total box office $370M at last count).
Fast forward to 2009. Suddenly, Mel’s intense allure has taken a decidedly nasty turn. His first big veer was in July 2006, when he was caught uttering anti-Semitic quips as he was being hauled off to the pokey for drunk driving. After addiction treatment and apologies out the wazoo, Mel laid low, producing in the interim another excellent film (Apocalypto). He also apparently laid something else, or more accurately, someONE else, Russian actress/singer/not-sure-what-she’s-famous-for-other-than-having-another-guy’s-out-of-wedlock-child (Timothy Dalton, one-time 007), Oksana Grigorieva. Mel sheepishly confirmed this week to Jay Leno that Ms. Grigorieva is expecting his newest production, his eighth child, later this year.
“What the f*** was he thinking?” I’m sure that those words came out of Robyn Gibson’s mouth as she heard, heaven knows how, that Mel’s girlfriend was preggers. Seven kids and 28 years of marriage and THIS is what happens?! And then the prick goes on The Tonight Show to make his “OctoMel” announcement, while also bolstering his transparent, “The Community Property Stopped in 2006 When You Kicked Me Out For Being an Ass” divorce-court argument?!
“I guess Mel Gibson has his demons,”someone said to me recently, noting that money doesn’t buy you peace of mind or pureness of action. My response was “Don’t we ALL have demons, small and large? And isn’t it part of life to learn how to keep them at bay?”
We all deal with our own minor or major hypocrises at some point or another, espousing one way of life while living another. You become an adult, and you recognize that living by a double-standard doesn’t sit well with you in the wee hours of the morning, when there is no one but your conscience to keep you company.
Mel might have a new little missy to spend his wee hours with, but somehow, I don’t think he is a man of much peace.
Or at least he won’t be, once that newborn starts screaming.
Candace Cavanaugh Buehner lives and works outside of Detroit, Michigan, where she hopes that Robyn Gibson takes Mel to the cleaners in the divorce settlement (you go, girl!).