There is something poignant and symbolic that Robyn Gibson, the loyal, dutiful wife of actor Mel Gibson, chose Easter weekend to file divorce papers after 28 years of marriage. With Easter representing resurrection, maybe this is a new beginning for her.
When she met her husband, then a struggling Australian actor, she was a 24-year-old dental assistant. While he was on locations around the globe filming movies for months at a time, she fulfilled an important part of their partnership. She was home raising seven children, a massive job that includes keeping meticulous schedules that rival many CFO’s spreadsheets.
There’s the doctors appointments, the after school activities which require shuttling kids to and from ballet to hockey practices, a job that needs to be planned with Swiss-like efficiency, and the expectation that somewhere along the line a child will forget a sneaker or stick and call Mom to have it delivered.
And then there’s the tyranny of feeding a small army of people three times a day who often have different menu requirements and needs and who, without fail, will complain bitterly about being forced to eat green vegetables. This job continues at night where Mom then enforces the bedtime rituals of showering, reading, hugging, and then — usually exhausted — can plop into bed, hopeful that at day’s end you have time to read a Huffingtonpost or magazine article.
Sure, they most likely had nannies to make it easier (much, much easier) but Robyn Gibson still fulfilled her job in being a stay-at-home mom so that Mel could parachute into the home and have it function with the elevated tastes of a movie star until he flew out again to another film set. It was their bargain. And now that they’re getting divorced, she is entitled to share in the fortune created while both were married. Divorce laws are created to protect the connective glue of society — the family, and each person’s participation, is valuable.
While the press is having myopic focus on the size of the divorce settlement, gleefully speculating like Wall Street subprime bankers that this will be the biggest amount ever, the truth is that, unlike the vast majority of divorcing couples, their lifestyle will not be diminished.
This is not a case where the divorcing man supports his former household and hardly can afford a studio apartment with a Sears couch and widescreen TV, or where the wife now has to explain why the kids’ piano lessons are cancelled. Do you really think that Mel Gibson, who is reportedly worth over a billion dollars, will be impacted if his fortune is halved? Plus, the money that will be given to Robyn will end up being left to his children, his grandchildren, and even great grandchildren.
I would bet they will reach a settlement where she walks away with several hundred million dollars and continues with her life. She will no longer have the cachet of being Mrs. Mel Gibson but will have plenty of cash to have a fabulous life and find someone who treasures her...and hopefully not just her newfound treasure.
He on the other hand can go on frolicking with the mysterious woman who he was clutching in Costa Rica. We're told this picture was the breaking point — I am always curious what creates those breaking points for people — and Robyn finally said enough.
After she filed, the couple then released a statement that they were separated since August 2006, just a month after his venomous attacks on homosexuals and his anti-Semitic rant to a Jewish police officer who had arrested him for drunk driving. But my guess is that Robyn nailed him for not being the devout Catholic he purports to be and embarrassing her in public, which to her broke a personal vow, common in many Hollywood marriages: Do what you want when I’m not around, but don’t let me know about it.
Since both of them still will co-parent their 10-year-old son, and there’s enough money for everyone to live well, most likely this case will be settled sooner vs. later. With seven children together, the marriage may be over, but the parental partnership is one that does last forever.