Women Who Partied With Gibson Defend Him

It's not only his Hollywood friends rallying to Mel Gibson's defense. It's also those he drank with on the night that has possibly changed his life forever.

This weekend Jodie Foster and Patrick Swayze said Gibson has a problem with booze, not bigotry.

Producer Dean Devlin, who is Jewish, called Gibson a close friend. He said, "If Mel is an anti-Semite, then he spends a lot of time with us, which makes no sense."

Still, it's the words of the two young women who partied with Gibson that night that are heard most clearly today. They said they can't compare the friendly and down-to-earth guy they met at the bar to the reportedly belligerent drunk arrested later that night.

The night that seems to have changed Mel Gibson's life apparently began as any ordinary evening. He visited a Los Angeles restaurant, where the owner said Gibson drank water and ate appetizers.

Then it was off to Malibu, and a popular nightspot called Moonshadows.

In cell phone video obtained by TMZ.com, the star looked to be in high spirits, holding what appeared to be bottled water. Witnesses, though, said he seemed tipsy and refused offers of a ride home.

By 2 a.m., Gibson was back on the Pacific Coast Highway, and 30 minutes later, he was pulled over by police, who found a tequila bottle in his car.

According to the arresting officer, the Hollywood star was "belligerent" and "continually threatened" him.

Seemed to Be Drinking Water All Night

But Kimberly Lesak and Julie Smith, two women who talked to Gibson that night, told "Good Morning America" that when they spoke to the star, he was approachable and very friendly, even turning down their offer to buy him a drink.

Lesak, 29, and Smith, 27, said Gibson seemed to be drinking from a bottle of water all night but appeared a little drunk.

"You could tell that he was a bit tipsy, but he was walking straight and walking straight," said Lesak, who works as a headhunter for the finance industry.

Gibson was friendly and outgoing with many bar patrons, the women said. "He was definitely working the crowd," said Lesak.

At one point, the subject of Gibson's controversial film, "The Passion of the Christ," came up, said Lesak.

"We were talking about his films, just general," she said. "And he mentioned just, do you guys know what I went through, what kind of controversy that movie caused me? And of course we laughed, like of course."

The conversation about the movie, which some people accused of anti-Semitism, stopped there.

Offered Star a Ride Home

Though Lesak and Smith said Gibson didn't seem excessively drunk, they -- and reportedly several other patrons -- offered him a ride home.

"With California laws being so strict with drunk driving, there was a group of people that offered him a ride home. Several people did," Smith said.

"That and it would be cool to give Mel Gibson a ride home," Lesak added.

When Smith and Lesak heard about Gibson's arrest and anti-Semitic tirade, they said they were shocked.

Smith said she turned on a cable news channel and was stunned to see a picture of herself with Gibson that night.

Gibson's arrest doesn't negatively affect their perception of the star, they said.

"It just doesn't seem right," Lesak said. "He was in a very good mood, very outgoing and very friendly, and to hear the accounts of the arrest, it just doesn't seem right."

Even when the women walked outside with Gibson at the end of the night when the bar closed, they said he was not at all belligerent. They wonder how his personality changed so radically when he was arrested shortly afterward.

"It just kind of makes you wonder what happened in those 10 minutes," Lesak said.

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