Gibson Ex, Grigorieva, Gives Charity Concert
- By Alisa Ballard
- Apr. 26 2010 00:00
A flurry of media attention has surrounded Russian-born singer Oksana Grigorieva over the past week since the abrupt ending of her three-year personal relationship with actor Mel Gibson. Grigorieva, who lives in Los Angeles, played a benefit concert in Moscow on Tuesday to support children at a Moscow oncology ward, a charitable mission that has been unable to escape the tabloid shadow of recent news concerning Grigorieva and Gibson.
Grigorieva, who was born in Saransk, is a classically trained pianist and singer. Her first and only album, “Broken Heartache,” was released in 2009 under Icon Records, owned by Mel Gibson, who co-wrote two of the album’s songs with Grigorieva. The singer performed the album at her private benefit concert Tuesday evening at Moscow restaurant Beletazh.
Her press conference Monday at the offices of Komsomolskaya Pravda was billed as “Mel Gibson’s Beloved’s Visit to Moscow: Preparation for Singer Oksana Grigorieva’s Charity Concert” by the paper. Journalists pressed for information about Gibson: “Was a DNA test taken to prove he was the father?” “No, that’s a lie,” said a nervous looking Grigorieva, complaining about made-up stories in the press and reading a prepared statement about the split.
A wire agency reported that Grigorieva said “she would remove a hammer-and-sickle tattoo on her ankle, which Gibson had advised her to get,” when in fact she said it was a temporary tattoo. The tattoo can be seen in a video for one of her songs.
Two days before the concert, Grigorieva spoke to The Moscow Times at the Savoy Hotel describing her break up with Gibson as an “amicable split” that she initiated. She and Gibson will raise their baby daughter together.
“Unfortunately, my personal relationship with Mr. Gibson has ended. Nobody broke up with anybody, but I did initiate it. I had to be with my children. I left Malibu with my children just very recently and suddenly. At this point in time, I cannot really get into details, but in time, of course, the truth will come up, and I will talk about it then,” Grigorieva said.
She complained about tabloid reporting, especially by the National Enquirer, which reported that Gibson broke up with her. “In the last three years of our relationship with Mr. Gibson, they’ve quoted a lot of things that were incorrect about me, like 90 percent. I just kept quiet about it, but I think sometimes you have to say that too many lies have been said, and if anyone wants to talk to me about it, they can.”
The Moscow concert raised funds for the Russian foundation Podari Zhizn, or Grant Life, founded by Russian actresses Chulpan Khamatova and Dina Korzun. Eurovision star Dima Bilan joined Grigorieva in two songs. Bilan called Grigorieva, offering to give his support to the charity cause.
Podari Zhizn would not comment on the evening, stating that they had no involvement with the organization of it. The charity does not yet know the amount of money they will receive from Grigorieva’s efforts.
Grigorieva speaks about her charity projects with intense sincerity, especially when speaking of children suffering.
“I think it’s important to give something back to my motherland,” Grigorieva said. This is her first visit to Russia in 17 years.
“I wish I was somewhere in Russia / at the feet of my mother / safe from harm,” Grigorieva sings in her song “Evening with Daddy,” whose lyrics were written by Gibson.
Grigorieva has raised about $100,000 from a February concert in Los Angeles, as well as from album sales, for Chernobyl Children’s Project International. The charity sends volunteer international medical teams to Ukraine and Belarus to treat victims of the Chernobyl disaster and its continuing legacy among the region’s population. Grigorieva traveled to Belarus from Moscow last week to visit 22 children who have received heart surgery and to see those children who are scheduled to receive treatment in May.
“I have my own children, and I empathize with other mothers and with children … I’m lucky and I’m privileged to be able to help,” she said.
She describes her music, which she writes, sings and plays herself on the piano, as being about “human touch,” which she feels is an important component of her charity work.
“There’s a lot of holding on and just giving. It’s about human touch, about giving good positive energy to these kids,” she said.
When asked why her Moscow concert was not open to the public, Grigorieva referred to it as a “baby step” and promised a future charity tour through Russia.