Mel Gibson's Highs and Lows

A look into the American-born, Australian-raised actor's controversies and career.

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Mel Gibson
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Mel Gibson has starred in numerous box office hits and is worth an estimated $800 million. But throughout his storied career, the "Lethal Weapon" star has been his own worst enemy.
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Gibson's latest flick, "The Beaver," is a drama about a middle-aged man's meltdown. Sounds familiar. The film has gotten some good reviews but hasn't cracked $600,000 at the box office since going into limited release May 6.
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In June 2010, Gibson's ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, a Russian musician and mother of the pair's toddler daughter, obtained a restraining order against Gibson, stating that he had punched her in the left temple and mouth as she held their infant daughter. In July, a domestic violence investigation began.
News of the investigation came after gossip site Radar posted recordings of the alleged incident. On the tapes, a man threatens to hit a woman in the head with a baseball bat and bury her in a rose garden. The site also posted photos of a woman who looks like Grigorieva with broken teeth.
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Gibson admitted in a sworn statement that he slapped Grigorieva "with an open hand" and said he hit her because she shook their baby.
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In March, Gibson pled no contest to a misdemeanor battery charge. He received three years probation, a year of mandatory counseling, 16 hours of community service and fines, according to the New York Daily News.
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A confidential child custody case between Gibson and Grigorieva is ongoing. On May 4, Grigorieva's lawyer told a judge that she would not pursue claims that Gibson’s alleged violence against her is grounds to change the custody order for their daughter. The judge was said to be visibly shocked, Hollywood Reporter said. Sources told TMZ that Grigorieva wanted to be able to communicate with Gibson directly.
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Jodie Foster, who directed and co-stars in "The Beaver," has stood by her star. "He had an incident where private conversations were recorded and showed up … on the Internet. You can only imagine what that would be if it happened to you," Foster told Access Hollywood on April 30.
Grigorieva was the former gal pal of James Bond actor Timothy Dalton, which whom she has a son.
Mel wed his former wife, Robyn Moore, while still a struggling actor in Australia. Their marriage lasted 28 years, and the two had one daughter and six sons together.
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In 2006, Mel was pulled over for drunk driving in California. He let loose a string of insults on the arresting officer, including anti-Semitic remarks. The actor and director subsequently apologized for the remarks.
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Gibson directed "the Passion of Christ," released in 2004. The film was enormously popular with Christian audiences, and sold millions in its DVD release. "The Holy Ghost was working through me on this film, and I was just directing traffic," Gibson said of the movie. "I hope the film has the power to evangelize."
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The film did not convert Gibson any new fans in the Jewish community. Critics stamped Mel an anti-Semite because of his portrayal of Jewish characters in the movie, a retelling of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Gibson starred in M. Night Shyamalam's "Signs" in 2002, the last film he did before an 8-year break from acting. Gibson did not wield any machine guns or broadswords in the film, but still gave a memorable performance fighting off space aliens.
At the same time, Mel was directing the quirky flick, "the Singing Detective," in which he cast his old "Air America" buddy Robert Downey Jr. RDJ, who had been dogged by mental health and drug problems, thanked Gibson profusely in public, telling anyone who would listen, "Mel took a chance on me."
Gibson himself is no stranger to being unhinged. In a 2002 interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Gibson said of his acting career, "I had really good highs but some very low lows. I found out recently I'm manic depressive."
Although raised in Australia, Mel was actually born in Peekskill, N.Y. In 2000, he showed this country he still knew how to wave the flag in "The Patriot."
The movie that really made Mel into a superstar was 1995's "Braveheart," which he directed and starred in. "Braveheart" weaved all of Gibson's favorite themes: heroism, tragic loss and prolific bloodshed.
Mel rode "Braveheart" all the way to the Academy Awards, winning Best Picture and Best Director.
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In a 1995 interview with Playboy, the "What Women Want" star explained his relationship with feminists. "Feminists don't like me, and I don't like them," he said. "I don't get their point. I don't know why feminists have it out for me, but that's their problem, not mine." Maybe feminists are out for him because of how people say he treats women. And gay people, black people, Latinos and Jews.
“With this look, who’s going to think I’m gay?" Gibson told Spanish magazine El Pais. His comments on homosexuals in the interview drew a firestorm of protest from gay rights groups, who characterized his remarks as bigoted.
Before there was "Braveheart," there was "Lethal Weapon." The buddy drama paired the affable Danny Glover with a long-haired Mel.
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Mel told Diane Sawyer that he loved to party in the 80's. He boasted his daily routine included five pints of beer in the morning.
In 1985 he earned honors as the "Sexiest Man Alive" from People magazine. It was the first year the award was given.
1985 was also the first year that Gibson would earn a $1 million paycheck. He starred in the third installment if the apocalyptic action flick "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome." Tina Turner was his costar.
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In "Mad Max," Mel played an Australian cop driving around after a nuclear war. In real life, it was Canadian cops that pulled him over for driving around intoxicated in 1983. His driving privileges in Ontario were temporarily revoked.
One of his early critical successes was the movie "the Year of Living Dangerously." He felt a kindred spirit to his character in the movie, a journalist in over his head. "He's not a silver-tongued devil," Gibson said. "He's kind of immature and he has some rough edges. And I guess you could say the same for me."
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EMPTY_CAPTION"I've apologized more than anyone I know, so it's getting old," Gibson said in an interview following his 2004 DUI arrest. "[The list] is huge. For my whole life."
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