HIS star might have fallen but troubled actor Mel Gibson still has plenty of friends in his old home town.
The Oscar-winning movie giant has been reportedly considering a move back to Australia with his former wife, Robyn, and Tangambalanga residents yesterday said they would welcome him back with open arms.
The star of Braveheart and Lethal Weapon bought a Tangambalanga farming property in 1986, and lived there intermittently over the ensuing years.
The homestead was sold in 2004 for $1.825 million at the same time as other Gibson properties in the Kiewa valley.
But as Gibson fights a public backlash, with his estranged Russian girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva alleging he punched her and their baby Lucia during a drunken episode, residents of Tangambalanga are offering their support.
Indigo councillor Peter Croucher, who lives at Tangambalanga, said Gibson had been a great contributor to the town.
“The place was quite excitable when he was around — he really was an institution,” Cr Croucher said.
“His house is still up there and when he was here, he was great.
“He always had a presence in the community.
“He even had his name down as a member in the local fire brigade.”
Tangambalanga resident Meghan Elkington also said Gibson’s return would be good for business and the townspeople would be happy to accommodate him once more.
“It would be fantastic,” Ms Elkington said.
“People might actually learn where Tangambalanga is.”
Another local resident, Jessica Chambers, said that she would love it if the star of What Women Want once again called Tangambalanga home.
“I tell you what — if Mel was to come back, I wouldn’t be leaving,” Ms Chambers said.
When asked if she cared about his recent misdemeanours, Chambers said: “It doesn’t matter, I still love Mel”.
However, the debate may be all academic with Gibson’s representative Alan Nierob saying there was no truth to the original report of Britain’s Daily Mail.
It claimed a source close to the family said the move to Australia was the idea of Gibson’s former wife Robyn.
“She has persuaded him that he needs to get away from Hollywood and find peace on his ranch and she will go with him along with some of the children,” the source said.