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It took almost a decade for Mel Gibson to become a relatively unknown action star of the original Mad Max films, to the unhinged detective Martin Riggs in the Lethal Weapon franchise. Gibson parlayed his success in these action films to become one of the most celebrated stars, filmmakers, and celebrities in Hollywood. Always smiling, seemingly fun to be around, there was darkness lurking beneath Gibson’s outwardly-friendly persona.
The Gibson troubles were startlingly quick, from Oscar winner to crazy religious madman, to angry, bitter husband. Where did Gibson’s troubles begin?
In March of 1996, Mel Gibson was the king of Hollywood. He won Best Director for his (semi) historical epic Braveheart, which would also won Best Picture. The win cemented Gibson as much more than an action star, and he continued to make successful blockbuster dramas and action films, including Ransom, Conspiracy Theory, and The Patriot. He also managed to fit in a wildly successful romantic comedy with What Women Want. Gibson was one of the biggest draws in Hollywood, with all of his films generating buzz and big bucks for studios.
But his decision to direct a story of Jesus Christ brought too many dark secrets to the forefront.
THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST
Controversy swirled around Gibson’s ultra-violent retelling of Christ’s crucifixion in The Passion of The Christ. Most of the controversy surrounded Gibson’s portrayal of the Jews, who killed Jesus in the story, as well as rumors of his father’s anti-semitic history. His father, Hutton, even claimed that the Holocaust was a hoax. Gibson distanced from his father’s hate, and the film became one of the most successful films of the decade of the 2000s.
But not long after, Gibson, who has always struggled with alcoholism, began to react to his growing alienation from a very Jewish Hollywood studio system who didn’t appreciate The Passion of The Christ. Then, in 2006, Gibson was arrested for DUI, and his anger and hatred spewed to the surface.
When Gibson was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in 2006, once in the back seat of the squad car, he began spewing anti-semitic hate among other violent threats. “Fu**ing Jews… The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.” Gibson then asked the deputy driving the car, “Are you a Jew?” Gibson also infamously called him “sugar t*ts.”
The fallout from Gibson’s DUI arrest was epic. He was cut off from Hollywood for years, he divorced his wife Robyn Moore, and he started a relationship with Oksana Grigorieva. In 2009, he reappeared on press junkets for his new thriller, Edge of Darkness, but his return didn’t last long.
In 2010, tapes recorded by Grigorieva were released, where Gibson was going on yet another hate-fueled tirade. Among many, many other things, Gibson is heard saying things like “You’re an embarrassment to me,” and “You look like a f***ing bitch in heat, and if you get raped by a pack of n***ers, it will be your fault.”
The tapes were another black eye for Gibson, who had seemed to completely derail under his fragile mental state. This 2010 incident signaled yet another exodus from Hollywood for Gibson, who is still struggling to recover in the public eye.
THESE DAYS OF MEL
While he has popped up from time to time in films like The Expendables III and direct-to-video films, Mel Gibson’s star has been broken beyond repair. He did appear on the red carpet at the premiere of Mad Max: Fury Road, and spoke about Tom Hardy taking over the role, but as far as being one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, the darkness of Mel Gibson’s history, his upbringing, and his personal demons will most certainly keep him from being any sort of box-office draw or celebrated filmmaker the rest of his life.