"It's one terribly, awful moment in time," Mel Gibson says in his first interview since the taped conversations between him and ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva were released.
"[It] doesn't represent what I truly believe or how I've treated people my entire life," he says.
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In 2010, a string of leaked recordings of Gibson yelling racist and sexist remarks at Grigorieva during their custody battle were released. Grigorieva accused Gibson of punching her in the head and face and the actor then pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor spousal battery charge. He was sentenced to 36 months of probation and 52 weeks of domestic violence counseling.
In an interview with reporter Allison Hope Weiner, released on Deadline.com, Gibson says that he's never treated anyone "badly or in a discriminatory way," but that he doesn't "blame some people for thinking that though, from the garbage they heard on those leaked tapes, which have been edited." He adds: "You have to put it all in the proper context of being in an irrationally, heated discussion at the height of a breakdown, trying to get out of a really unhealthy relationship."
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Gibson also talked about two of the celebrities that went to bat for him in the last year: Whoopi Goldberg and Jodie Foster. "I knew Whoopi before she was Whoopi. And, as she's great and I always liked her and loved her. I like her even more now because she got it," he says. And he knows she received heat for defending him. "I love her for it," he says.
On Foster, Gibson's co-star in the upcoming film The Beaver, he says: "You couldn't get two people who are more diametrically opposed on everything that they think about religion and politics than what we do. But there is a core of goodness there that's undeniable and I just love her."
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Looking back, Gibson says he may have chosen a less public career, but now has to deal with the decision he made years ago.
"It's unfortunate that I was 21 or 22 years old when I made the choice because without benefit of experience or any kind of maturity, one makes a choice in the spur of the moment... you realize that it's not anything it appears to be in your imagination and that it has a lot of downside to it," he says.
Now truly understanding the "downside" of having no anonymity, Gibson says, "There are aspects that you don't necessarily want and sometimes they are completely unavoidable. You get blindsided and try to deal with it in a pragmatic way."