The news that Robyn Gibson, Mel Gibson's wife of 28 years, filed for divorce last week has inspired a certain amount of snickery coverage in the media from those who regard the highly regarded actor and Oscar-winning director as a bit of a reactionary religious loon, and we'd hate to get left out of that completely. Gibson is famous for his Traditinalist Catholic views, which are stubbornly pre-Vatican II. In 1999, Gibson created the A. P. Reilly Foundation in order to build his own church in Malibu, where mass is conducted in Latin, women are required to wear skirts and dresses and keep their heads covered, people wear shoes on their hands, and hamburgers eat people. (Some of this may be inaccurate. I was pretty drunk the day I stopped by to use the restroom.) Obviously, a divorce would not get Gibson many green stamps in the more-Catholic-than-thou sweepstakes, but he probably deserves a lot of credit for having put in almost thirty years with a woman who won't be able to fetch his pipe and slippers for him when he's in Heaven. In a notorious interview with an Australian newspaper, Gibson acknowledged that his wife's soul is beyond saving, but tried to adopt a more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger attitude towards the whole thing: "There is no salvation for those outside the church. I believe it. ... Put it this way: My wife is a saint. She's a much better person than I am. Honestly. She's, like, Episcopalian, Church of England. She prays, she believes in God, she knows Jesus, she believes in that stuff. And it's just not fair if she doesn't make it. She's better than I am. But that is a pronouncement from the chair. I go with it."
Some of us who remember reading that interview when it came out, and who also remember reading it again and looking up and thinking, "Nahhhh..." and then reading it yet again, might have assumed that one reason Robyn Snyder finally called the lawyers is that she was tired of her husband constantly spraying her side of the bed with Lysol to try to get rid of the smell of sulphur. So it was a bit of a shock when word hit the papers that the old boy, "who was spotted frolicking with a blonde woman on his $26 million Costa Rican ranch Tuesday, who may or may not be engaged in an affair with a Russian musician...While it's unclear if possible infidelity on the 53-year-old actor's part led to [his wife's] decision to end their marriage, recent photographs of Gibson with women in Boston and Costa Rica, and reports that he engaged in a relationship with Russian singer Oksana Pochepa have fueled speculation that he wasn't faithful." Whatever the case, Gibson is worth an estimated $900 million, Bird on a Wire or no Bird on a Wire, and because Robyn married him in 1980, when his personal assets consisted of a beer cooler, a pair of flip-flops, and 250 complimentary Betamax copies of Summer City, there was no spoilsport pre-nup to nip the festivities in the bud. Stay tuned.