Gerard Depardieu urinated on the carpet of a plane as he tried to piss in a bottle on a flight from Paris to London. The French actor has since apologised.

Depardieu was caught short after the seatbelt sign had been switched off as the plane took off.

“I need to piss!” Depardieu called out, only to be told by the cabin crew that he would have to wait 15 minutes.

Deciding that was not possible, Depardieu stood up and attempted to urinate in a bottle, apparently soaking the carpet in the process.

According to passengers, the plane was then grounded for two hours while the carpet was cleaned.

Depardieu was removed from the CityJet flight.

The actor – who starred in Cyrano de Bergerac, Jean de Florette and Green Card – claims he was sober and has apologised for the incident.

Friends said that he only resorted to pissing in a bottle due to his “irrepressible need” and that he did his best to make sure he wasn’t seen.

According to reports from Depardieu’s camp, only a small amount or urine ended up on the floor and the actor offered to clean this up himself.

However a passenger told France's Europe 1 radio: "Mr Depardieu got up, calling out 'I need to piss, I need to piss'" as the plane was heading to the runway.

"The air hostess replied: 'I am sorry, you'll have to wait 15 minutes until we are in the air, everyone is strapped in, the lavatories are shut, I can do nothing for you.'

"He said: 'No, I cannot wait.' He got up, and did it on the ground.

"The hostess was shocked, but nothing was said – everything was done courteously."

"Mr Depardieu sat down again, and we went back to the plane parking space."

She continued that the actor: "thinks he is not like others, that he has to abide by their rules. He could've waited a couple of minutes."

A spokesperson for CityJet confirmed that Depardieu “in effect, urinated in the plane”.

Later the airline later tweeted: “As you may have seen on the news, we are busy mopping the floor of one of our planes this morning…”

And: “We’d also like to remind all passengers that our planes are fully equipped with toilet facilities.”

On Twitter, some have been sympathetic. One person tweeted: “Toilet is locked, so Depardieu pees on plane. I know how he felt."

Others outraged: “Has society reached the state of no return? Sure seems like it. Celeb pees on the plane, but not in the bathroom.”

And some just pretty random: “Gerard Depardieu did a wee in the aisle of a plane… I knew a guy who did a wee into the walk in pantry at my friend Jo's place once…”

Depardieu once said a real actor was one who "has vomit on him, who stinks, who has just crapped a bit out of fear."