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In her first televised interview, Mel Gibson's ex Oksana Grigorieva opened up to Larry King Wednesday about what happened the night of their Jan. 6, 2010 fight.

Though sources previously told Us Gibson, 54, didn't lay a hand on her, Grigorieva, 40, claims otherwise.

"He hit me and choked me in front of my son [with actor Timothy Dalton] and brandished a gun at me," she told King.

The next day, she said, "He was apologetic, asking for a chance. He said he would be cured, treated, evaluated. All those words. I didn't record it. I believed it. If someone's asking for a chance, you give them a chance."

Soon after, his "profanity, anger, rage" returned.

Fearing for her life, she began recording their conversations (which leaked online this past summer).

"I wanted my mother to be able to prove, if I'm dead, who did it," said Grigorieva, who has a daughter, Lucia, 1, with Gibson.

Drinking wasn't his problem, she said. Gibson is "a batterer," she told King. "Domestic violence is an illness."

Staying with him so long "was a mistake," she admitted. She said she is speaking out not because, "It's not okay to be beaten and be silent."