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What can we learn from serial celebrity break-ups, billionaire bust-ups, misbehaving spouses, pants-on challenged politicos and the ever-shifting landscape of divorce law? Question is, "What CAN'T we learn"? With latte in hand and clicky finger at the ready, dive in for the best in divorce news, views, gossip, and buzz – assembled below for your reading pleasure.

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.



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8 comments

  • Comment Link Guest Friday, 21 August 2009 11:31 posted by Guest

    what's with 7 or 9 or more kids??? unless you love slavery. Nobody needs $400 million dollars, big family or not. Surely, that much can be stretched out for several generations, if handled well. Mel Gibson is an idiot, plain and simple. I don't feel sorry for him at all. Let him share his wealth. No problem.

  • Comment Link philosophia Thursday, 25 June 2009 02:43 posted by philosophia

    Marriage is a partnership. I have 9 children that I have been raising and home schooling for 23 years. My husband works outside the home. I work from morning until night and he demands to be waited on when he arrives home from work. Feeding, clothing, nurturing, entertaining, and taking the time to teach and communicate with a house full of children is an extremely draining and stressful job. If you don't believe it, try it some time. When you have mopped the dining room for the third time in one day, and nursed a brood through a stomach flu, and kept the house and perhaps a side job going, too, then give your opinion.



    And speaking of working conditions and setting your own schedule, much of homemaking is monotonous and gross and damage control. A house full of children is accidents, spills, disasters and emergencies waiting to happen at any moment. There are personality conflicts and fights to break up. And when the husband arrives home from his "grueling" day at the office complaining he was slighted in some way and takes it out on the family with a nasty attitude, how do you think the wife feels? It's not as if she receives a paycheck that validates she has some worth in the arrangement. She can't just say "Take this job and shove it!"



    Marriage is a partnership. Mel Gibson's wife should get half of everything he has, plus child support. That's my two cents.



  • Comment Link Guest Monday, 15 June 2009 22:15 posted by Guest

    In response to Jeffb:



    WHAT WORLD ARE YOU LIVING IN!! Obviously you have never raised compentent, mannered, successful, healthy children. For if you had, you would know that it doesnt stop after age of 12. Granted, Mels wife probably had nannies, more than likely not in the beginning and she did put up with Men's inability to grow up, step up, and be a parent when men will always be selfish children themselves without the proper 'parenting' when they were young. Men 'work' 8 hours a day and come home if they come home. Parenting is 24/7 and double time on weekends and holidays (who plays santa, easter bunny etc deals with inlaws- not men) . She deserves every dime she gets for dealing with that for over 30 years!! Jeffb take the blinders off and really pay attention next time you see a 'real working' mother.

  • Comment Link Guest Saturday, 18 April 2009 15:51 posted by Guest

    This story underscores the need for prenups. No reasonable person can believe that Robyn "deserves" hundreds of millions of dollars from Mel. My guess is that the motive for your favorable opinion of Robyn's money grubbing is feminism.

  • Comment Link Guest Friday, 17 April 2009 15:48 posted by Guest

    Isn't it interesting how sometimes the blog or article you write that you don't think will ignite, does that very thing, and suddenly you have a really good communication going between FWW'ers.



    Frankly, I think Mel Gibson went crazy sometime before or after "The Passion" - and I believe he's pretty screwed up, though for years we all believed him to be some kind of special icon - You remember "...still married to the same woman, blah, blah, blah..."



    As far as the money - she deserves whatever she can get. And, Mel? He deserves whatever he can keep. Hollywood marriages and relationships have very little to do with the real world where I and so many of us FWW'ers live in. But, as in the case of Rhiana (sp?) and Chris Brown - sometimes hollywood brings issues to our attention, uh, "...for better or for worse." Wanda Woodard

  • Comment Link Guest Friday, 17 April 2009 13:49 posted by Guest

    Agreed. This is a bunch of crap.

  • Comment Link Guest Thursday, 16 April 2009 12:53 posted by Guest

    "She was home raising seven children, a massive job that includes keeping meticulous schedules that rival many CFO?s spreadsheets."




    Get real, Jill. Raising children, even seven of them, is not rocket science and it doesn't require meticulous scheduling unless you are a neurotic helicopter parent. It might be a "massive job" for a third world person who has to grow the food her family eats, haul water and firewood, sew clothes, prepare every meal from scratch, wash clothing by hand, etc. For an American with running water, refrigeration, washing machine, disposable diapers, prepared foods, and purchased clothing, raising kids is not particularly difficult or even time consuming once the kids get past 2 (even without nannies). Almost every parent manages to get their kids fed, dressed and out the door with their homework done day after day. Compare that to the percentage of businesses that succeed (< 10%) or individuals who become outstanding in their field of endeavor.




    If your job is stay-at-home parent, you're working about 16 hours a day for the first two years, tapering down to 2-3 hours by age 12. You go from semi to full retirement after 18 years. During that time you have complete autonomy: you set your schedule, have no commute, no boss to answer to, no evaluations to stress over, no bureaucracy to deal with, no incompotent coworkers to cover for. Compare that to the breadwinner who has to slog through all of the above 8 hours a day, every day, for 40 years or so. Who has the better deal? Maybe kids have an intuitive sense for this. I see a lot of girls playing "house" but I don't see many boys playing "insurance salesman" or "factory worker".




    Robyn does not deserve $400 million any more than Kevin Federline deserved half of what Britney's talent and drive earned her, even though he was the better parent and she was the one who "parachuted in" from her job on occassion.

  • Comment Link Guest Wednesday, 15 April 2009 21:44 posted by Guest

    Fantastic article! You are right on target!