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.

News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

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

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Relocation, relocation: Zawe Ashton travels the pathway to Northampton
Arts and Entertainment
BBC Three was launched a little over five years ago with the slogan: “Three, is a magic number, yes it is.”

BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital move

TV
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer

film
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Armie Hammer in the new film of ‘The Lone Ranger’

TV
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
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.

    Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

    Greece referendum

    Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
    Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

    7/7 bombings anniversary

    Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

    Versace haute couture review

    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
    No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

    No hope and no jobs in Gaza

    So the young risk their lives and run for it
    Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

    Fashion apps

    Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate