Lethal Weapon star Mel Gibson bit by 24-year-old 'Shark'

Australian superstar Mel Gibson’s been linked with a host of young beauties over the past few months. But Russian pop singer Oksana Pochepa has apparently emerged as the front-runner in the race for his affections.

The tabloid pictures of married man Mel Gibson enjoying life with a mystery blonde on the shore have been seen around the world. It's the dalliance that prompted Gibson's wife, Robyn, to file for divorce. They've seven children from 28 years of marriage.

The media identified the sexy stranger as 24 year-old minor Russian pop star Oksana Pochepa, who used to perform under the alias "The Shark".

After headlines such as "I am Mel's Russian Doll" and "Our Eternal Love", Oksana has decided to clear the air when she held a press conference in a seedy Moscow nightclub where Russia's leading showbiz writers were ready to pounce. But Oksana was tight-lipped about the rumoured romance.

“I will only comment after the day of Mel's divorce announcement,” said Oksana.

But that wasn’t obviously enough for the hungry muckrakers and the question was shouted from the audience:

“Can I ask you a question about yourself. Are you pregnant?”

Oksana replied with a smile.

Oksana Pochepa
Click to enlarge

Oksana Pochepa (Click to enlarge)Cynics have suggested Oksana might not even be the girl in the photos and is only creating publicity to revive her sinking career. The Shark's last CD was released in 2002.

But Oksana told RT there's nothing fishy about her intentions.

“I've never met a woman, who says she is pleased when the headline reads "I am a Home-breaker". People are misinterpreting the situation. I don't want people to say that about me,” said Oksana Pochepa.

Back in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don, where Oksana is originally from, she is remembered as a hard-working and ambitious youngster. But even her teachers didn't know she would rise to the top.

“Talent is important. But to become a star you need more than that,” said Irina Medvedeva, Oksana's music teacher

And Oksana isn't the first Russian beauty to achieve high profile by seducing a famous Western man. Model Angela Ermakova gave birth to Boris Becker's child after a fleeting embrace in a cupboard in 1999. And last year, Ronnie Wood left his wife for a 19 year-old Russian cocktail waitress.

“It's not that unusual for someone to leave their wife after becoming famous. But as a rule, these new relationships don't last a long time,” says Igor Sadreev, Russian FHM Editor.

So, is this the beginning of a great love affair, a shameless publicity ploy by a fame-hungry starlet, or a mid-life crisis for one of Hollywood's most iconic actors?

It will remain fiction if Mel is being bitten by a shark, since he's still keeping silence.