Depardieu: 'I'm French' despite Russian passport
- Photo: JACQUES BRINON/Invision/AP1 of 6
- Photo: WENN2 of 6
- Photo: WENN3 of 6
- Photo: PH3/HSS/WENN4 of 6
- Photo: Graham Hughes/Invision/AP5 of 6
More Celeb News
- 'Kelly & Cal' Review: New Mom Juliette Lewis Finds an Unlikely Suburban SoMSNEntertainment 3/7/2014 9:00:00 PM
- Talent Agents Adam Kanter, Martin Spencer Exit Resolution (Exclusive)MSNEntertainment 3/7/2014 8:14:00 PM
- 'Bad Words' Review: Jason Bateman's Directorial Debut Exhilarates Until IMSNEntertainment 3/7/2014 8:00:00 PM
- Newsweek Bitcoin Writer Fires Back at Tina Brown: 'I Have A Problem' With Her CommMSNEntertainment 3/7/2014 6:50:00 PM
- The Best. Baseball Movie. Ever (Guest Blog)MSNEntertainment 3/7/2014 5:54:00 PM
- 'Kelly & Cal' Review: New Mom Juliette Lewis Finds an Unlikely Suburban So
PARIS (AP) -- Actor Gerard Depardieu denied in an interview aired Monday that he accepted a Russian passport to escape the taxman in France, and said that while he may also seek Belgian nationality, he is still French.
RELATED: Embarrassing Celebrity Arrests
Depardieu's first public remarks since acquiring a Russian passport on Saturday suggest that his threat last month to turn in his French passport was a bluff, or the indignant reaction of a wounded man.
"I have a Russian passport, but I remain French and I will probably have dual Belgian nationality," he said in the interview with the sports channel L'Equipe21. "But if I'd wanted to escape the taxman, as the French press says, I would have done it a long time ago."
Depardieu, 64, is one of France's best known actors, has appeared in more than 150 films and has an international following. He has been at the center of a heated debate over tax exiles as France's Socialist government looks to fill state coffers with a hefty tax on the rich. Depardieu drew scorn and insults with his recent decision to move to neighboring Belgium, where taxes are less steep for the well-off.
After Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called him "pathetic" and "unpatriotic," Depardieu penned an open letter in mid-December saying he was handing in his passport and social security card. Then, over the weekend, Depardieu showed up in Russia to accept a passport delivered personally by President Vladimir Putin.
Depardieu spoke to the sports channel from Zurich, Switzerland, on the sidelines of a soccer awards ceremony. Referring to tax exiles, Depardieu said that some high-profile rich in the entertainment industry had left France two decades ago.
Depardieu has a court date Tuesday in Paris, where he is expected to agree to a plea bargain in a case of alleged drunken driving. The burly actor was arrested after falling off his motorcycle in November and failing a sobriety test.
Elisabeth Depardieu, the actor's ex-wife, said in an interview on Monday with RTL radio that her former spouse is by nature very emotional.
"When he feels refused, he becomes provocative," she said. "Should we throw stones? He is a monument. He is a poet."
RELATED: BING: Milestones for 2013
From Mila Kunis to Mary-Kate Olsen, get the scoop on all the engagements in Hollywood on Replay.Watch Video »
From Katy Perry and John Mayer to Paula Patton and Robin Thicke, get the scoop on all the breakups in Hollywood.Watch Video »
Rihanna, Katy Perry, and Heidi Klum all get an F on this week's Fashion Offenders.Watch Video »
The Rock flexes massive muscle while getting sentimental on Celebs Gone Social hosted by Wonderwall editor Chris Gardner.Watch Video »
Get the scoop on Julianne's hunky Canadian hockey beau on Replay hosted by Wonderwall's Kirby Kristen.Watch Video »
Get the scoop on all the rumors surrounding Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling on Replay hosted by Wonderwall's Kirby Kristen.Watch Video »
From Crowd Ignite