July 29, 2006

Mel Gibson apologizes for drunk driving

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Oscar-winning director and actor
Mel Gibson apologized on Saturday for driving while drunk and
for his "belligerent behavior" toward the deputy sheriffs who
arrested him.

"I acted like a person completely out of control when I was
arrested, and said things that I do not believe to be true and
which are despicable," he said in a statement issued by his

Gibson, 50, was arrested in the early hours of Friday
morning for speeding along the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu,
the beach town north of Los Angeles.

"I am deeply ashamed of everything I said, and I apologize
to anyone who I have offended," Gibson said.

He did not explain the offensive comments, and a spokesman
for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department also declined
to comment on Gibson's behavior when arrested.

Gibson, 50, whose 2004 film "The Passion of the Christ" was
a smash hit, said he has "battled with the disease of
alcoholism for all of my adult life and profoundly regret my
horrific relapse."

He said he has already taken the steps necessary to ensure
a return to health.

The actor rocketed to fame in the late 1970s in the movie
"Mad Max" and scored huge box office hits playing a cop in the
"Lethal Weapon" movies.

In 1995, he acted in and directed "Braveheart," about 13th
century Scottish rebel William Wallace. The movie earned 10
Oscar nominations and won five of the top film awards,
including directing for Gibson and best picture of the year.

Gibson used his own money to make "Passion," about the last
hours in the life of Jesus Christ, because no Hollywood studio
would back him. The 2004 film went on to be a major hit and
gross more than $611 million at global box offices.