Ricky Gervais shows human side with Christmas tears

Ricky Gervais broke down in tears as he paid tribute to his late mother during a heartfelt Christmas message.

The British funnyman took part in an online Q&A session via the Wall Street Journal's website to explain to fans why he is an atheist, and he used the platform to reveal how he celebrates the festive season in a non-religious way.

But he became emotional as he opened up about spending the holidays without his beloved mother, who died in 2000.

''(I'll be) eating and drinking too much with friends and family. Celebrating life and remembering those that did, but can no longer,'' Gervais wrote.

"They are not looking down on me but they live in my mind and heart more than they ever did probably. Some, I was lucky enough to bump into on this planet of six billion people. Others shared much of my genetic material. One selflessly did her best for me all my life.

"That's what mums do though. They do it for no other reason than love. Not for reward. Not for recognition. They create you. From nothing. Miracle? They do those every day (things). No big deal. They are not worshiped (sic).

They would give their life without the promise of heaven. They teach you everything they know yet they are not declared prophets. And you only have one.

"I am crying as I write this. It usually gets me this time of year. That's what's special about Christmas. It's when you visit or reminisce about the ones you love. And reflect on how lucky you are. How they helped shape you.''

Gervais caused controversy at the Golden Globes earlier this year when he ended the show with a salute to his anti-God beliefs.

- AAP

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