Gibson Family Feud

Inside Joye Gibson’s Domestic Violence Petition Against Stepson Mel

Maria Elena Fernandez on Mel Gibson and his 78-year-old stepmother, who has requested a restraining order.

Bergrand Langlois, AFP / Getty Images

Say what you will about Mel Gibson], but he’s an equal-opportunity offender. Blacks, Jews, women, gays—all have reportedly been the target of his wrath. Now you can apparently add the elderly to the list.

On Monday Gibson’s 78-year-old stepmother, Teddy Joye Hicks Gibson, petitioned Los Angeles Superior Court for a domestic-violence restraining order against her stepson of 10 years. In the petition, Joye Gibson accuses the actor-director of “several acts of domestic violence” against her and of manipulating her husband, Hutton Gibson, into filing for divorce on June 1. Late Monday TMZ reported that instead of granting the temporary restraining order, a judge set a hearing for next month.

Married to Gibson Sr. since December 2001, Joye Gibson said in the petition that she disagreed with Mel Gibson and his sister, Maura Dunne, over their father’s medical treatments. She favored conventional medical care for her 93-year-old husband, whose health has deteriorated over the past year, over the ozone and stem-cell treatments that Mel Gibson arranged, the petition states. When Hutton Gibson filed for divorce last month, Joye Gibson was “baffled,” according to the petition. The documents also accuse Mel Gibson of forcing her to pack her personal belongings and leave the Mulholland Drive house where she and Hutton Gibson have lived rent-free since December 2007. Mel Gibson’s A.P. Reilly Foundation owns the property.

“There is no question that Mel is not only more physically imposing than Joye, but that he has unleashed the same sort of inappropriate tirades on her which he has now become notorious for perpetrating against others who he has gotten into conflict with in the recent past,” the petition states. “Although there are no audio or video recordings of those offending communications in this case, Ms. Joye Gibson will never forget what it was like to be on the receiving end of Mel’s terrifying tirades.”

In her declaration, Joye Gibson said she is afraid of seeing Mel Gibson again and that press reports about Gibson’s anger “represent only the tip of the iceberg.” She said she is requesting the restraining order “because it’s only a matter of time before he crosses the line even further and physically assaults me.”

Here are the eight events that Mel Gibson’s elderly stepmother says led her to challenge him in court:

1) According to Joye Gibson’s declaration, the problems with her stepchildren began in October 2011, when she told them that she didn’t think Ozone treatments were helping her husband. Mel Gibson allegedly began yelling, “Fuck this and fuck that,” and that she “should not fuck with his treatments in any way,” according to the document. Later that same day, she claims in her declaration, Mel Gibson showed up at her house unannounced to apologize, and a couple of days later he agreed to take his father to the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, where he was diagnosed with kidney failure.

2) On Jan. 1, 2012, Hutton Gibson was admitted to the hospital. According to Joye Gibson’s declaration, she said something that set Mel Gibson off and he “got up, looking wild and began yelling at me in a very loud and terrifying voice. Mel screamed that I was manipulating him, and he said that he was uncomfortable being around me at all … I could see his face turn red. This incident left me so shaken that I did not sleep at all that night.”

3) Two months later, the family traveled to Panama so that Hutton Gibson could receive stem-cell treatment for his hip. The night they arrived, Mel Gibson cooked dinner, but Joye Gibson had an upset stomach and did not want to eat, according to the declaration. “Mel looked at me in disgust and said that I was insulting him by not eating. He then threatened that if I did not eat that he would have me put outside.”

4) After Mass on May 6, 2012, Hutton Gibson called a family meeting to discuss the way his children were treating his wife. According to Joye Gibson’s declaration, Hutton Gibson only got a few words out before Mel became “incensed and began acting like a wild man.” He rushed toward the table where Joye Gibson was sitting and pointed his fingers “inches from my face. He was so close that I could feel his spit hitting my face. He was wild and shaking with rage, and his eyes looked as if they were bulging out of his head. Not knowing what to do, I stayed seated and frozen in place fearing that if I moved or said a word that Mel would escalate his verbal assault into a physical attack … Mel screamed that he would never apologize to me.” Joye Gibson said she could hardly drive home but when she arrived at her house, she vomited. After that night, Joye Gibson told her husband that she could no longer live this way and did not want to live in a home where Mel Gibson had access.

5) On May 16, 2012, after they played Scrabble, according to the petition, Joye Gibson told her husband that she didn’t have any love letters from him and she’d love to have one to keep with her other “treasures.” Hutton Gibson immediately penned a note stating, “Dear Joy, Some day when we are not together please read this and realize what we have always meant to each other. The years I have spent with you are some of the best years of my life. When we are apart life is not the same. Our mutual love is permanent.” In the petition, Joye Gibson states, “I was very touched because due to his age and declining health, I was not certain how much time we would have left together and he is the love of my life. I am a very sentimental person and I hold on to such things so that I can enjoy them later.”

6) Six days later, before leaving for a trip to Houston for her grandson’s high-school graduation, Joye Gibson wrote her husband a note: “Dear Hutton, We love each other and I will miss you the next two weeks. I am going to Houston to purchase a home for the two of us and I will be back to get you. It will be better when we again have our own home and not have to depend on Mel’s generosity. Hopefully you can go soon.” In the petition Joye Gibson explains that she was sitting with her husband when she wrote it and that she put it in writing “so that it was clear to him.” Her husband had a round-the-clock nurse and his ability to travel depended on his medical condition, the petition says. Hutton Gibson responded by writing, “Received. I look forward to seeing you in two weeks.”

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7) On June 2, the day of her grandson’s graduation and four days prior to her return to Los Angeles, Joye Gibson was served with divorce papers in Texas. In her declaration, Joye Gibson states: “Hutton never said anything to me during the entirety of our marriage and especially in the weeks leading up to my trip to Texas that led me to believe he was contemplating divorce … Hutton is a devout Catholic, and I know it’s against his religious beliefs to file for divorce like this, and especially to strike out of the blue like this. In short, with the exception of the mounting tensions between me and Mel, there was nothing at all wrong in our marriage.” In her declaration, Joye Gibson accuses Mel Gibson and his sister of manipulating their father into filing for divorce.

8) Since Joye Gibson was served with divorce papers, she has stayed in Texas and her husband has never tried to call her, according to her declaration. When she has tried to reach him, no one answers, the declaration states. “Hutton was a complete gentleman to me every day of our 10-year marriage, and neither me nor any of our close friends believe this is something Hutton would pursue if he was of his right state of mind,” she stated in her declaration.