In a rambling, raw and very real acceptance speech at the Golden Globes on Sunday night, Hollywood icon Jodie Foster came out. She did it in her own way, obliquely, and as always with a premium placed on her own privacy. Still it was a monumental admission of truth despite nearly everyone knowing (or assuming) it for years now.
The 50-year-old actress/director/two-time Oscar winner came to the stage after a loving roast by her longtime friend and costar Robert Downey Jr., who introduced her acceptance of the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award. She started out, nervously, and with a bait-and-switch announcement aimed at her own non-admission of her sexual orientation, coming out and declaring “loud and proud” to the world that “I am single.”
But then things quickly got more personal, while also making yet another plea for her own legendary desire to be private. She continued saying:
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 honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance and a primetime reality show. You guys might be surprised, but I’m not Honey Boo Boo child…
If you had been a public figure from the time you were a toddler, if you had to fight for a life that felt real and honest and normal against all odds, then maybe you too might value privacy above all else.
She went on to acknowledge “one of the deepest loves of my life, my heroic co-parent, my ex-partner in love, but righteous soul sister in life” of 20 years Cydney Bernard, who was present at her table along with the two sons they had together. In 2007, many people interpreted her thanking of “my beautiful Cydney” as a coming out of sorts while accepting another award.
Her speech drew immediate response on Twitter, with many entertainment figures and writers congratulating her on her moving speech. Among them was former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton, whose father – Bill “Mr. Hillary Rodham” Clinton – made a surprise appearance at the event.
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) January 14, 2013
As the camera panned across the crowd celebrities like Kate Hudson and Emily Deschanel wiped away tears. Foster called her current experience “scary and exciting” and said “I might never be up on this stage again, or any stage for that matter.”
Still, there were some grumblings about the indirect nature of her confession, and its long overdue nature. But I, for one, believe it to be an amazing and laudatory act by one of the highest profile female public figures to come out to date.
Foster concluded by saying her wants her next era in her life to say: “Jodie Foster was here, I still am. And I want to be seen and to be understood deeply, and to be not so very lonely.”
So, congratulations, Jodie Foster. Thank you for finally, officially if still obliquely, becoming family. And I think coming out at the Golden Globes might even beat coming out on the cover of Time magazine.