They were the tapes heard ’round the world. But Oksana Grigorieva, Mel Gibson’s ex-girlfriend, vehemently denies that she is the one who made them public.
“I’ve never leaked those tapes,” she says of the audio that surfaced in July in which the actor can be heard raging against Grigorieva in a series of explosive phone calls. She says she does not know how the tapes surfaced.
Grigorieva, 40, also denies that she ever attempted to extort any money from Gibson, 54.
An L.A. Sheriff’s investigation is underway as to whether Grigorieva attempted to extort millions from Gibson in exchange for keeping the tapes private. Meanwhile, the L.A. district attorney is determining whether to charge Gibson with domestic violence. Gibson’s attorneys declined to comment about Grigorieva s interview in the new issue of PEOPLE, but his side has repeatedly disputed her allegations.
Grigorieva maintains that her primary focus is the couple’s 1-year-old daughter Lucia, who lives with her mom but sees her dad nearly every other day, including overnight visits once a week. “I’m only fighting for my daughter,” says Grigorieva. “He needs to understand that … and stop destroying me and my name.”
Why is she speaking out so publicly? “I’d like for people to know the real Mel Gibson,” she says. “Even though he’s rich and famous, he’s a bully … And I want other women that are in my situation to stand up to the bullies, even though it’s difficult and scary.”
For much more about Oksana Grigorieva’s relationship with Mel Gibson, look for the Oct. 18 of PEOPLE, on newsstands now