Mel Gibson sought therapy as his relationship with Oksana Grigorieva deteriorated, a friend of the troubled actor has claimed.
The actor - who has been accused of domestic violence against his ex-girlfriend - reportedly became concerned about how "unhealthy" their relationship had become and requested outside help in order to deal with his feelings.
A friend of the star told People magazine: "He realised how unhealthy the relationship was and recognised that they were in a bad place and he was getting his buttons pushed.
"He wanted to figure out how to extricate himself from this unhealthy relationship peacefully and calmly. Which is what he did."
According to a pal, 54-year-old Mel - whose explosive rants have been exposed on audio tapes - is still in therapy and trying to come to terms with the allegations against him.
The source added: "He's coping as well as can be expected."
Meanwhile, Whoopi Goldberg has spoken out to defend the 'Passion of the Christ' star over allegations he used racist terms in some of his tirades against Oksana.
She said: "I don't like what he did here, but I know Mel and I know he's not a racist.
"I have had a long friendship with Mel. You can say he's being a bonehead, but I can't sit and say that he's a racist, having spent time with him in my house with my kids.
"I don't like what he's done. Make no mistake."
One leaked tape features Mel telling Oksana - who he has an eight-month-old daughter Lucia with - she needed a "bat in the side of the head".
An extended release of a previous clip also shows Mel - who has been dropped by his agent in the light of the revelations - admit to hitting the Russian singer in the face while she held their baby.
She says: "What kind of man is that? Hitting a woman when she's holding a child in her hands? Breaking her teeth twice in the face! What kind of man is that?"
Mel responds: "Oh, you're all angry now! You know what, you f***ing deserved it."