On the morning following his arrest for drunken driving, actor Mel Gibson continued drinking as he talked to his children at home, he told Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview on "Good Morning America. "
Gibson spoke out for the first time today about the anti-Semitic comments he made to police when they booked him for drunken driving over the summer.
"I just went home and saw my kids were there. You know, I talked to them for a little bit. And it was a little … rough that morning," Gibson said. "I chased it down with a few cold ones."
"It was kind of unbearable to face. … I said, 'Well, this is it. This will be the end of it, but I just have to get through this morning,'" he said. "You're not operating well, but you know you have to do something. … I wasn't flashing it in front of them or anything."
Watch the second part of Diane Sawyer's exclusive interview with Mel Gibson Friday, Oct. 13, on "Good Morning America," which airs across the country from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
The actor called July 28 a "day to remember" in the interview.
Gibson was pulled over shortly after 2 a.m. on July 28 in Malibu, Calif., for speeding, and he reportedly made anti-Semitic comments during his arrest.
He later apologized and called the remarks "despicable."
Like most days, he went to work, saw people, and saw a screening of his friend's movie, he said.
"I guess I must have been a little overwrought. So … and that's what happens. Too much pressure, too much work. You do things that go against good judgment," he told Sawyer. "A few drinks later, and I was in the back of a police car wailing."
Gibson was also arrested drunk in 1984, after rear-ending a car. He has talked about considering suicide before he entered Alcoholics Anonymous in 1991. Since then, his family has had to endure his relapses, but this time with the added horror of watching the news about his bigoted words.
The actor said that he didn't know how many drinks he had that night, but that he was drinking tequila and that he had been drinking again for a couple of months.
"Years go by. You're fine. And then all of a sudden in a heartbeat, in an instant, on an impulse, somebody shoves a glass of Mescal in front of your nose, and says, 'It's from Oaxaca,'" he said. "And it's burning its way through your esophagus, and you go, 'Oh, man, what did I do that for? I can't put the toothpaste back in the tube.'"
The night of his arrest, Gibson drank a few swigs from an open bottle in the car, he said.
"It's not a question of how drunk you are," he said of that night. "You're impaired. … Your judgment is impaired enough to do insane things like try and drive at high speeds."
"Even a couple of drinks, you know, you lose all humility, all … everything, and you just become a braggart and a blowhard," he said.
While handcuffed in the back of the police car, Gibson said he told authorities, "I own this place."
As the officer arrested him, Gibson also went on a tirade against Jews.
He asked Officer James Mee, who is Jewish, "Are you a Jew?"
"The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," he said that night to Mee.
Gibson said he didn't know at the time that Mee was Jewish.
"I found out later, but that's all," he said. "I didn't know if he was or wasn't. I mean, I said horrible things to him … and he was pretty patient."
Gibson said his words were anti-Semitic.