Dear Mel –

First off, congratulations on your acting ability. I happen to be a big – no, make that huge – fan of the film What Women Want. You know, the Nancy Meyers movie that gives your character, Nick Marshall, a window into women’s minds and it turns him from a sleazy player into a self-aware guy who learns to respect the opposite sex. You were so convincing in the role.

Given what we’ve heard in tapes of conversations -- allegedly between you and former girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva -- recently released by, you must have been choking on your lines in that flick. That Nick sensibility was nowhere to be found in those profanity-laced rants, so it appears we have our work cut out for us. Most of my life-coaching clients are accomplished people who want to tap into their long-dormant creative skills or switch career tracks. That’s not you.

According to your extensive bio on Wikipedia, you’ve acknowledged you’re a manic depressive and that alcohol has been a problem since age 13. It keeps coming up, this disease that tragically afflicts so many. Yet we can’t turn on the television or surf the Internet this week without hearing these tapes where you deny you have a problem at all. I’ve never coached anyone this emotionally disturbed and in denial about it before, so you’re bringing me a heady challenge.

As a matter of fact, from an ethical standpoint, if you’re not already seeing a really good therapist I couldn’t even consider taking you on as a client because life coaching requires a bit of self coaching. I don’t think a guy who rants at the mother of his child that he doesn’t need medication when it’s obvious to the rest of the world that he does is what we in the business like to call “coachable.”

Mel, you’re only 54. You’ve got an Oscar and an impressive body of work. Geez, you were even People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” once. But now, after the past scuffles with the law and a court case pending with Oksana, even the William Morris Endeavor agency has decided to no longer rep you.

Now what?

This is your darkest hour. You’ve been stunningly outed as a person with no respect for women and questionable opinions of Jews, African-Americans and gays. Some of the winners in the blogosphere seem to think you’re just being targeted by the media because you’re not politically correct. I’m going to have to recommend that you keep in mind they’re jackasses who likely dismiss anyone who is not of the non-Jewish, Caucasian, heterosexual variety.

I don’t think you need me to tell you what to do. You’ve known where to turn your whole life. While I prefer to focus on the compassion and love that Jesus represents, your excruciating version of his suffering in The Passion of the Christ suggests a reverence for what he came here to do and the effect that had on shaping you. Go back and watch it. And then again. And then again. Reconnect to why you felt strongly about making that film, what you wanted to convey, why you poured yourself into it.

In there, in your passion, in Scripture, is the nugget of wisdom you need to turn yourself around. I know this won’t go over well with the anti-religious folks out there, but frankly it is your single best hope at some kind of redemption moving forward because you are not one of them. This is dogma you have respected all your life and you need to dig into it again, only from a more mature and emotionally intelligent place.

Stand in front of a mirror, look yourself in the eye and ask yourself how you want to be remembered from this point on. Your obituary is already going to have some nasty twists. That’s a given. But how about being the guy who saw the error of his ways and created an action plan for healing and wholeness? You and your ex-wife have given millions of dollars to needy children worldwide, the restoration of Renaissance work and the National Institute of Dramatic Art. There’s no disputing your commitment to philanthropy and to your ability to devote energy to causes that speak to your core.

So many people have already written you off that they’ve probably stopped reading this column because they think I’m an idealistic cornball. But I’m cursed with a belief in my fellow human beings to turn things around. It almost defies logic, but I’m still proud of it.

I hate to harp on my Nick Marshall obsession, but that guy seemed pretty hopeless with his whole Sinatra-vibed bachelor pad shtick. Then, bam, he gets hit by lightning and develops empathy, compassion and an open heart. His life changes dramatically.

Maybe a walk in a thunder storm isn’t such a bad idea, Mel.

Crackle. Pow. Zzzzzzzzzzzt.

You’re a new man.


Nancy Colasurdo


Nancy Colasurdo is a practicing life coach and freelance writer. Her Web site is Please direct all questions/comments to