Mad Max's visit to the movies could cost him $450m

Mel Gibson's surprise red carpet appearance with his new girlfriend ups the ante in his divorce case

The leading man is one of the Hollywood's most bankable stars. His female counterpart is a mysterious Russian with the voice of an angel and an intriguing link to James Bond. The plot involves a spurned wife, a near billion-dollar fortune, and an increasingly messy divorce.

Mel Gibson's suddenly turbulent private life took another step towards summer blockbuster status last week, when he pitched up at the Los Angeles premiere of the new X-Men movie showing off a glamorous new girlfriend: a singer and former employee called Oksana Grigorieva.

The appearance, just a fortnight after the Oscar-winning actor's wife of 30 years, Robyn, unexpectedly filed for divorce, raised the ante in what – with at least $900m (£600m) at stake – promises to be the most expensive Hollywood split in history.

"Mel has been single for almost three years," was how his spokesman explained the pictures showing Gibson, 53, hand-in-hand on the red carpet with the 39-year-old brunette. "It's nice to see him getting out and enjoying himself."

Maybe so. But few things could have been better designed to rile Robyn Gibson, who separated from her husband in 2006 and filed for divorce citing "irreconcilable differences" after the actor was photographed on a Costa Rican beach embracing Ms Grigorieva.

Gibson seldom attends film industry events. Some wondered if Wednesday's appearance marked the start of a "re-branding" in advance of November's release of Edge of Darkness, his first film since a drink-driving arrest in 2006, when he derailed his career by telling a Jewish police officer: "Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world."

Others speculated that Gibson may be softening up his public for a bombshell announcement. The US TV show Access Hollywood has reported that he's actually been with Ms Grigorieva for three years, and the musician is reported to have informed friends that she is pregnant.

The Russian singer has "form" for stepping-out with action heroes who boast Irish ancestry: her 12-year-old son is the product of a long-term relationship with the former James Bond Timothy Dalton. Ms Grigorieva was brought up in Ukraine and emigrated to the UK at the age of 20 to be a care worker, but subsequently studied at the Royal College of Music and launched a career as a pianist and singer.

Further speculation surrounds what Gibson's church will make of the relationship. The actor is a member of a conservative Catholic sect that does not recognise the authority of the Pope and follows an antiquated ideology dating back to the 16th century.

The divorce's greatest impact on his daily life, however, is likely to be financial. Gibson has built up an enormous fortune, making the bulk of his wealth from The Passion of the Christ, which he produced and bankrolled. Costing $30m, the film was released in 2004 and became a commercial sensation, generating $611m at the box office, along with tens of millions of dollars in DVD sales.

Since almost every penny Gibson owns was generated during his marriage to Robyn, which lasted almost three decades, he is likely under Californian law to have to surrender half of the $900m fortune.

A crumb of comfort may come from the fact that this week's outing is unlikely to have damaged his financial prospects. "In California, there is nothing wrong with dating someone when you are separated," said the LA divorce attorney, Lynn Soodik, this week.

Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
Arts and Entertainment
Bradley Cooper, Alessandro Nivola and Patricia Clarkson on stage

film
Arts and Entertainment

Grace Dent on TV

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is heading to Norwich for Radio 1's Big Weekend

music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Arts and Entertainment

Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated

Arts and Entertainment
Damian Lewis shooting a scene as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall
TV

Arts and Entertainment
A history of violence: ‘Angry, White and Proud’ looked at the rise of far-right groups

tv

An expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle

Arts and Entertainment

art

Lee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Keaton in the 1998 Beetlejuice original

film

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Kitchen plays Christopher Foyle in ITV's 'Foyle's War'

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt will be starring in Dominic Savage's new BBC drama The Secrets

Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
art

‘Remember the attackers are a cold-blooded, crazy minority’, says Blek le Rat

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
    Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

    Diana Krall interview

    The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
    Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

    Pinstriped for action

    A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

    'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

    Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

    Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
    Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us