Richard Gere crammed a gerbil where the sun don't shine
Referenced everywhere from "The Simpsons" (Troy McClure's fish fetish) to "Scream," the rumor that Richard Gere got all American Jiggy-lo with a member of the Rodentia order has persisted ever since he closed a jewelry box on Julia Roberts' hand in "Pretty Woman." The story, told in middle school playgrounds and talent agencies the world over, had it that the star of "First Knight" and "Dr. T and His Women" was rushed to the hospital after sticking a gerbil up his rectum. Sometimes the gerbil was shaved, sometimes it was greased up. One possible source of the rumor was a fake press release from the Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals that circulated around Hollywood claiming that Gere had done unspeakable things to a harmless little gerbil. Who sent the fax? An angry ex? Sylvester Stallone, who told Ain't It Cool News in 2006 that Richard believes he started the rumor after the two came to blows on the set of "Lords of Flatbush"? Or the Chinese government, as a means of retaliation for Gere's many years of Tibet love?
Why it's dumb: Because it's a rumor with zero proof that has become a hack joke at this point. Like many urban legends, it always begins and ends with the old "my friend's cousin's best friend knows a guy who was there!" chestnut. It's also random. Why Richard Gere? How did he get stuck with the "gerbil up the butt" rumor for life and not, say, Warren Beatty or Tom Berenger? (What? He was considered a heartthrob back in the day.) For that matter, there's no proof that "gerbiling" even exists as an actual sexual practice. It's a (let's be honest here, folks) dated, homophobic rumor meant to cast the gay male community in a deviant light. Besides, if a gerbil was actually forced into that general area, it would tear its way out faster than Gere bowing before the Dalai Lama at a peace rally. Have you seen how fast those things run through a maze to get a food pellet? If the story were true, Gere would be long dead instead of starring in middling Diane Lane vehicles. Now can we finally put this one to rest? Think of the damage it's done to the gerbil community. Do you think they want to be forever associated with the guy from "Runaway Bride"?