Mel Gibson, who enjoyed a solid film career and longstanding popularity with audiences until very public personal and legal problems cast him as something of a Hollywood pariah, is 56 years old.

The star and sometimes-director of popular and award-winning films such as Braveheart, The Passion of the Christ, Ransom, Maverick, and the Lethal Weapon series has had a rollicking personal and professional life over the past few years thanks to arrests, an anti-Semitic rant, and a battle for custody of his daughter with estranged ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva -- just to name a few controversies.

An article in the March 2011 issue of Vanity Fair went into the actor's personal and legal limbos. Gibson's longtime friend and Maverick costar Jodie Foster said that while she didn't approve of the way he's handled everything, she still felt for him and his family.

I don't have a lot of friends, she told VF. So it was unusual for me to have met somebody and instantly said, 'This is somebody I'm going to know for my whole life.'

Gibson will soon be officially single. His divorce from Robyn Moore, his wife of more than 25 years and mother of seven of his children, will take effect on Jan. 9, according to Reuters. The couple had been separated since 2006, when his troubles began.

Throughout our marriage and separation we have always strived to maintain the privacy and integrity of our family and will continue to do so, Gibson and Moore said in a joint statement.

Gibson's personal life may still be under scrutiny, but he still manages to find work despite the public backlash. He and Foster starred in the 2011 dramatic movie The Beaver, which she directed, and he will star in the 2012 action film How I Spent My Summer Vacation.

Here are photos of Gibson throughout the years. He may have gone slightly bananas, but he's still a looker!