- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 3, 2006

For Mel Gibson, and dozens of celebrities before him, sorry may not be the hardest word.

John Lennon — After proclaiming “We’re more popular than Jesus now,” the late Beatle faced not only the wrath of fundamentalist Christians, but boycotts and even death threats in 1966. Just 25 when the remarks were uttered, Mr. Lennon later said, “I apologize if that will make you happy.”

Hugh Grant — In 1995, the suave English actor made a sheepish and very public apology to his supermodel girlfriend, Elizabeth Hurley, after police arrested him for receiving oral sex from Hollywood prostitute Divine Brown in a parked car on Sunset Boulevard. His career survived. His relationship with Miss Hurley ultimately did not.

Jimmy Swaggart — The Assemblies of God pastor (a cousin of hard-living rocker Jerry Lee Lewis) was brought low in 1988 when a rival televangelist, the Rev. Marvin Gorman, exposed his romps with a Louisiana prostitute named Debra Murphree at a seedy motel. Blaming his “demons,” a rambling, weeping Mr. Swaggart repeated, “I have sinned against you… and I beg your forgiveness” in a blanket televised apology to, among others, God, his followers and his wife, Frances.

Elvis Costello — The demon rum apparently got the better of the snarky Brit, who in 1979 referred to music legend Ray Charles as a “blind, ignorant [racial epithet]” while drinking with rockers Stephen Stills and Bonnie Bramlett in a Columbus, Ohio bar. Days later, a contrite Mr. Costello apologized, saying he was drunk and had deliberately been obnoxious in return for Miss Bramlett’s derisive remarks about British rock music in general and her “sawed-off Limey”-type comments aimed pointedly at him.

Dixie Chicks — Three years ago, lead singer Natalie Maines drew heat from the group’s conservative fans for expressing her disapproval of President Bush. A backlash, including some canceled Chicks gigs, soon followed. Miss Maines apologized but later had a change of heart and withdrew the apology.

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