Mel Gibson has something to say.
As his buzzed-about comeback film The Beaver approaches a release date, the embattled actor, 56, is speaking out for the very first time about his disastrous 2010: A year in which his custody battle with ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva unearthed a batch of instantly-infamous audiotapes documenting vicious arguments between the couple, in which a furious Gibson was heard spewing countless racist, misogynist and violent epithets. He was later also accused of physically assaulting Grigorieva.
"Who anticipates being recorded?" Gibson tells Deadline.com in an epic interview. "Who could anticipate such a personal betrayal?"
Yet the Oscar winner insists that the shocking chats were taken out of context — and that he's not a racist, misogynist, anti-Semite or a homophobe.
"I've never treated anyone badly or in a discriminatory way based on their gender, race, religion or sexuality — period," Gibson says. "I don't blame some people for thinking that though, from the garbage they heard on those leaked tapes, which have been edited. You have to put it all in the proper context of being in an irrationally heated discussion at the height of a breakdown, trying to get out of a really unhealthy relationship. It's one terribly awful moment in time, said to one person, in the span of one day and doesn't represent what I truly believe or how I've treated people my entire life."
And, despite some of the best reviews of his acting career for The Beaver, Gibson acknowledges that his reputation might be damaged beyond repair.
"I don't care if I don't act anymore," he says, adding that he's "beyond" caring whether fans misjudge his personal travails. "The whole experience has been most unfortunate. And so it's not without all the downside."
"I could easily not act again," adds the multimillionaire star. "It's not a problem. I'm going to do something now because I want to do it and because it's fun."
Gibson also says he wasn't bothered that he was dropped from doing a cameo in the Hangover II after castmembers reportedly complained. "It's okay," he said. "You just have to let that go."
The actor/director explains in the chat that he's not able to discuss most of the specifics of his settlement with Grigorieva in a domestic abuse case. "I was allowed to end the case and still maintain my innocence….I could have continued to fight this for years and it probably would have come out fine. But I ended it for my children and my family. This was going to be such a circus. You don’t drag other people in your life through this sewer needlessly, so I’ll take the hit and move on."
The tape scandal, he admits, was "was terribly humiliating and painful for my family, all my kids [with ex-wife Robyn]."
And despite his older age, he loves having a younger child — Lucia, his 18-month-old with Grigorieva.
Sign up for Us Weekly's free, daily newsletter and never miss breaking news or exclusive stories about your favorite celebrities, TV shows and more!
"That's the best thing," he gushes. "Children are just amazing gifts. The whole journey of discovery again and having a different perspective now. It's different. You learn. I mean, I have a daughter who is 30 and I have a daughter who is 18 months. And the 18 month is getting 30 years of benefit."
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!