Robert Downey Jr bats for Mel Gibson

Los Angeles:  Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr, who received the American Cinematheque award, asked the crowd to forgive actor Mel Gibson during his acceptance

The 46-year-old actor paid a tribute to Gibson and in front of fellow celebrities, recalling how Gibson helped him during his own dark time, reported Ace Showbiz.

Downey personally asked for Gibson to hand him the Cinematheque honor.

“I asked Mel to present this award for me for a reason. When I couldn’t get sober, he told me not to give up hope and encouraged me to find my faith. It didn’t have to be his or anyone else’s as long as it was rooted in forgiveness. And I couldn’t get hired, so he cast me in the lead of a movie that was actually developed for him,” he said.

Gibson famously helped Downey make a comeback by paying Downey’s insurance bond so he could star in 2003’s The Singing Detective.

“He kept a roof over my head and food on the table and most importantly he said if I accepted responsibility for my wrongdoing and embraced that part of my soul that was ugly, hugging the cactus he calls it, he said that if I hugged the cactus long enough, I’d become a man,” Downey added in his acceptance speech.

Gibson is locked in a bitter custody battle over his daughter with ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, who had accused him of domestic violence.

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