With a new baby and a new film on the way, Mel Gibson has a lot to look forward to after spending much of the last decade out of the spotlight.
“Mel is in a good place,” a source tells PEOPLE of the actor. He and his girlfriend of two years Rosalind Ross are expecting a baby early next year — Gibson’s ninth — and the source says the couple plans to live at the actor’s Malibu home.
“Mel seems genuinely excited about the baby. It was a surprise, but Mel seems very happy,” the source adds. “He says having kids is making him to stay young. He loves being a dad.”
The source also notes that Gibson “has a good relationship” with Lucia, his 6-year-old daughter with ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva. “Lucia knows that she is going to be a big sister,” adds the source.
While promoting his new film Hacksaw Ridge, a gritty WWII drama already earning positive reviews, some of the director’s old controversies have come back to light. In interviews, he’s talked about getting sober and refocusing his life after past scandals.
Gibson faced intense scrutiny and public outrage in the wake of his 2006 arrest for drunk driving and a subsequent anti-Semitic rant. He also made headlines four years later after an audio recording surfaced in which he can be heard going on a profanity-laced tirade against then-girlfriend Grigorieva, amid claims that he had assaulted her. (The actor admitted to slapping Grigorieva, but said it was done in order to stop her from shaking their then-1-year-old baby, Lucia.)
“Mel has showed some remorse over his past behavior,” says the source. “He was very stubborn about it for a long time. He now realizes that it was a distraction from his work. Mel wants to be remembered for his work. He has worked on his issues and has definitely shaped up.”
The actor joked about his past indiscretions on The Late Show Tuesday. When host Stephen Colbert asked about the actor’s biggest snafus, Gibson got both candid and comedic.
“Hey Mel-Mels, when you look back on your life, do you think you’ll have any regrets?” Colbert wondered.
“No, no not one. They tend to come in clusters,” the filmmaker cracked.
“If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?” the talk-show host asked.
“Oh, don’t be so caught up in the little things. Take advantage of all the gifts the world has to offer. Live every day to the fullest,” mused Gibson, before quipping: “I’d also tell myself, my younger self, to shut the f— up.”
The actor — who also told Colbert that his planned sequel to The Passion of the Christ, titled Resurrection, is “probably about three years off” — recently spoke out about his headline-grabbing past in an interview with Australian media, during which he revealed that he’s been sober for a decade now.
“I am a member of [the] 12-step program and I achieved sobriety like that,” Gibson said. “I’ve got 10 years of sobriety under my belt.”
He also opened up to Variety about his past controversies, saying on its “Playback” podcast: “10 years have gone by. I’m feeling good. I’m sober, all that kind of stuff, and for me it’s a dim thing in the past.”