Actress addresses sexuality directly saying she revealed she was gay 'about a thousand years ago, back in the stone age'

Jodie Foster used the 2013 Golden Globes awards to address her sexuality for the first time directly, saying that she had come out to everyone she had met, but regretted that a public declaration in the media was required.

In a wide-ranging and occasionally opaque speech accepting the Cecil B DeMille lifetime achievement award, Foster upstaged even former president Bill Clinton to deliver the surprise of the night.

After teasing the crowd that she was going to make an announcement "that I'm a little bit nervous about", Foster said: I'm just gonna put it out there … I'm single."

There was laughter, but the room at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles fell silent as it appeared Foster, 50, had have a serious point to make.

Foster said: "I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago, back in the stone age. In those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends, and family, coworkers and then gradually, proudly, to everyone who knew her. To everyone she actually met.

"But now, apparently I'm told, that every celebrity is expected to honour the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance and a primetime reality show. You guys might be surprised, but I am not Honey Boo Boo child."

It has been been widely known in Hollywood circles for years that Foster, the recipient of four academy awards in a storied career, is gay. But the fact is rarely acknowledged in the media as Foster has never discussed it publicly, save for an oblique reference to her then partner, Cydney Bernard, in a speech in 2007.

On Sunday night, Foster pivoted from a discussion about her sexuality to discuss the issue of privacy for people in the public eye and to deliver a critique about modern celebrity media culture.

"If you had been a public figure by the time you were a toddler, if you had had to fight for a life that felt real, and honest, and normal against all odds, then you too might value privacy above all else," she said.

"Privacy. Some day in the future people will look back and remember how beautiful it once was."

It was not the first time Foster has discussed the issue of privacy. Last year she wrote on the Daily Beast website that "if I were a young actor today I would quit before I started", in response to the scrutiny under which actors find themselves.

Her cryptic speech immediately trended on social media websites, with Twitter speculating whether Foster had indeed come out for the first time, and whether she might have retired from the film business – the actor ending her speech by saying it felt like "the end of an era".

Foster quickly put any rumours to bed, however, telling reporters in the press room that she was not retiring. "You'd have to drag me behind a team of horses," she said. "No, I'm not retiring from acting."

While Foster's speech was the most direct discussion of her sexuality yet, its enigmatic language left open room for plenty of interpretation. The Guardian's US film critic, Tom Shone, described the remarks as a "goofy, meandering speech during which she half-came-out and half told-everyone-off-for-being-so-nosy".

© Guardian News and Media 2013


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