Gene Hackman allegedly slapped a homeless man who called his wife a c*** outside a New Mexico restaurant.

TMZ learned that Hackman felt threatened by the man approaching him in the street and when he called Hackman’s wife Betsy a rather unsavoury name, Hackman struck Bruce Becker across the face.

Unfortunately for Hackman, who was trying to defend his wife’s honour, Becker went and called the cops, having seen exactly where Hackman and his wife had headed for dinner. Luckily for Hackman, the police were sympathetic to his plight and decided that – as he had felt threatened by Becker approaching him and his wife – he was technically acting in self-defence and let him off without any charges. Becker hadn’t visibly been injured and so the movie star walked.

According to E! Online, who spoke to Sgt. Andrea Dobyns of the Santa Fe police department, the call was received at 1:30pm. Dobyns confirmed that the alleged assault was “more like a slap than a punch” and “it looked like Mr Hackman did this purely out of self defense to protect himself and his wife.” Lucky Betsy, eh, having a man that will look out for her in public like that. Not that we’re condoning violence of course. Betsy is Gene’s second wife; they married back in 1991.