Passions of Mel Gibson: Lethal weapons and lethal affairs
22nd August 2010
Had it been a Hollywood romcom, things might have turned out very differently. Two strangers, they met at Sydney airport. She was a pretty, upper-class English girl; he, a handsome Australian with grey-blue eyes.
During a stopover in Singapore, they began talking and when they met again by chance in a nightclub a few weeks later, there was a powerful attraction. They entered into a passionate affair.
But this being real life rather than a film script, a two-month fling was all their liaison could ever hope to be. For the man was Mel Gibson, then a moderately successful actor. And he was married with three children and a fourth on the way.
The year was 1985, Gibson was 29 and the girl, Miranda Brewin, was 20 and not looking for commitment.
Recalling the moment she first saw the actor, Miranda says she had no idea he was the star she had seen on screen, merely finding him very attractive.
‘It was at passport control that I first spotted him,’ she says. ‘I’d seen him in Mad Max but in that he had long hair and I always thought he must be about 6ft 2in. This man was about 5ft 9in.
‘I thought, God, he’s beautiful. My first thought was, I want that man to be the father of my children. I followed him around the airport. What else does one do when you’ve got hours to wait and a flight to catch?
‘They called the flight to London and I had to go. Then I saw he was on the same flight. I think we might have smiled at each other as we were getting on the plane but he went up to first class and I was downstairs in business.
‘There was a three-hour stopover in Singapore and I was determined to talk to him. He went into an electrical shop and I waited outside on a bench. It sounds ridiculous. I’d never done this before or done it since. He came out and I said: “You look about as bored as I feel.”
‘And then we just talked and talked for the next couple of hours. He never once said what he did for a living. I introduced myself and he said: “I’m Mel.”
‘I just thought he was a very, very handsome boy. We talked about travelling. And I remember he said he came from a very large family, one of ten or something. I joked: “Didn’t your parents have a television?”
‘We then got back on the plane. I think I gave him a sleeping pill because it was such a long flight. It was only then, ludicrous as it may sound, that I realised. Suddenly it dawned on me, oh my God, Mel! It was Mel Gibson.
‘I thought, oh no, what did I say? Did I make a complete fool of myself? I was really embarrassed. I saw him in the queue when I went to get my luggage and I just waved and sprinted away.’
I followed him through the airport. Only later did it dawn on me: 'Mel...my God, it's Mel Gibson'
Anne’s parents were the MP and businessman Lord Walston and his wife Catherine, who had been the mistress of Graham Greene, on whom he based his novel The End Of The Affair.
Privately educated, Miranda later earned a degree in English and Classics from the University of London.
But between school and university, she decided to move to Australia. She worked for two years in an illegal gambling club and embarked on an affair with a television executive. Then came her fateful meeting with Gibson.
Although the actor’s reputation now lies in tatters, before 2006, when he was stopped for drink-driving and launched into an anti-Semitic rant, Gibson was hailed as a committed family man and devout Catholic.
He had seven children with his wife, Robyn, and often spoke in interviews of their strong religious principles. Yet if Miranda’s experience is anything to go by, these principles were never as steadfast as he led everyone to believe.
She says: ‘I was only in England on holiday. I went back to Australia and a few weeks later I went to a nightclub in Sydney called The Cauldron.
‘Everyone said: “Oh my god, oh my God, you’ll never guess who is in. It’s Mel Gibson.” I elbowed my way to the bar – I wasn’t particularly subtle. I wanted to see if he’d recognise me.
‘He turned round and said: “Miranda, what are you doing here?”
‘That was it really. He remembered my name. It did feel amazing. We started drinking and then we went to another club called Rogues.
‘I knew he was married but I think it was afterwards I discovered his wife was pregnant. We went back to a house on Coogee Beach, which belonged to a friend of his. It was just him and me . . . I think we’d done all our talking by then.
‘It was something that was great fun. It was incredibly flattering. I knew it wasn’t going to be a deep and meaningful relationship. He was married and he was very highly sexed. It carried on for a couple of months.
‘I had a flat in Darlinghurst, on the eastern side of Sydney, where I lived with a girlfriend. He would come and visit me there. And we would go to The Cauldron, which had a dining room as well, or to Rogues or we’d stay in.
‘He liked a drink but he wasn’t badly behaved. We always used to drink Stolichnaya vodka. I had mine straight, he had it with lime and soda. He was quite normal I suppose.
'He was a nice, honest, handsome boy. I think it’s quite sad. He seems to have lost himself, really.’
'At that point his status wasn’t what it is now. He was still an Aussie boy. He was very nice. I wouldn’t say he was the brightest boy in the world but it was great fun. Your average Aussie dude.
‘He wasn’t particularly religious. He wasn’t exactly running out to church on a Sunday morning. He was a very handsome boy, a nice guy. I think he was probably, not naive exactly, but a much simpler soul back then.
‘He’d just finished filming Lethal Weapon. It was the first big film he’d made. The Mad Max films were still local films, while this was an American film. He was very proud of it. He told me to look out for it and he thought it should do well.’
And Gibson was right, with Lethal Weapon launching him in America and becoming a hugely lucrative franchise. He and Robyn moved to the US, where he would become one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.
After Lethal Weapon, Gibson moved into producing and directing, winning two Oscars for Braveheart in 1995 and making the controversial 2004 dramatisation of the final hours of Jesus’s life, The Passion Of The Christ.
But for all the public pronouncements about his faith, Gibson’s infidelity didn’t seem to trouble him. Nor did it appear to worry Miranda. Certainly, there was none of the Catholic guilt that characterised her grandmother’s affair with Greene.
Miranda says: ‘Quite frankly, I wasn’t particularly interested. I didn’t want to sit around and discuss his wife and family. I don’t know if she knew what he was doing, although I’m sure she must have suspected.
‘It’s true when I saw him I wanted him to be the father of my children, but I knew it was just a bit of fun. I did admit to him that I’d thought that. He thought it was amusing.
‘It stopped a couple of weeks before she had the baby. It was just accepted I suppose that when the baby was born, he’d better get back. I never stayed in touch. He moved to America and it was not like I could call him.’
Miranda returned to England in 1989 and two years later began a relationship with Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman. He had recently divorced Mandy Smith, who he controversially started dating when she was 14.
Miranda recalls: ‘I met him in Tramp. He was all right. He was a bit dull. He had a beautiful house in Bury St Edmunds. The Mandy Smith thing didn’t worry me, although I did find it slightly peculiar.
I knew it wasn’t going to be a deep and meaningful relationship. He was married and he was very highly sexed. It carried on for a couple of months.
‘I do remember him saying she was a very grown up 14-year-old. I said it doesn’t matter, she’s still a 14-year-old. I lived with him for about eight months but then I decided to leave.
'He let me live in the flat above his restaurant, Sticky Fingers, in Kensington. We’d split up.
‘I was moving out but I admit I wasn’t rushing into it. One night I came in and none of the light switches worked. He’d taken every fuse out. That tells you the measure of the man.’
Miranda went on to work for the influential lobbyist and public relations executive Sir Tim Bell and now has her own company, working as a remote PA for a host of different clients.
She is based in Barnes, West London, her current boyfriend runs a marketing company and she spends time with friends and family.
Like everyone, she has read of Gibson’s latest travails. Last year, it was announced he and Robyn, who he called his ‘Rock of Gibraltar’ and who he credited with rescuing him from alcoholism, were to divorce. Since then, the 54-year-old’s life has spiralled out of control.
Months after the announcement, the star was pictured with Russian model Oksana Grigorieva, 40. The pair have a daughter but have since split up and two months ago he allegedly issued a racist, threatening, tirade against her.
In an audio tape, which was leaked on the internet, Gibson apparently called her ‘a ******* pig in heat’ and told her it would be her fault if she was raped by a bunch of n******’ because of the provocative way she dresses. He has now been dropped by his agent, William Morris.
Miranda cannot associate this man with the one she knew all those years ago, despite his infidelities. She says: ‘I don’t remember him ever behaving badly. I was horrified.
'It’s certainly not the person I remembered. I think it’s terribly sad. From before, where he could have a drink and enjoy himself, he now clearly has a problem. He should stop drinking.
‘He’s turning into a racist, bigoted drunk. He was a nice, honest, handsome boy. I think it’s quite sad. He seems to have lost himself, really.’
And if she were to bump into him at an airport now? She says: ‘Obviously, I wouldn’t go near him now if my life depended on it. It’s a tragedy.’
A spokesman for Gibson last night declined to comment.