The Portia de Rossi Guide to Public Relations

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When

Portia de Rossi and Francesca Gregorini

were first photographed together by the paparazzi in

2001 quietly canoodling in an alleyway, it was impossible

not to have mixed feelings about their sudden exposure to public

view.

On

the one hand of course, it was wonderful news — a famous and beautiful

actress, and the sassy rock-singer daughter of a Bond girl (and

step-daughter of a Beatle, no less), together. In love! The celebrity

lesbian-couple void left by the very public Anne/Ellen and Melissa/Julie

breakdowns was all but forgotten. And so too perhaps, were the smug

grins on the faces of those who cheered their fall, eager to delude

themselves that lesbian couples, as a rule, couldn’t last.

But

on the other hand, the sickening

headlines that accompanied many of those first photos of Portia

and Francesca, where words such as “caught!” and “exposed!”

were liberally splashed across the pages (as if pictures of two

women hugging and kissing represented something illegal) reminded

us all that as long as there is a sense of shock felt by some around

same-sex relationships, sections of the press will gladly exploit

it every time and for every penny it is worth.

However,

since those initial revelations about Portia and Francesca, the

two women have conducted themselves and their relationship with

a level of dignity and grace that has, possibly, re-written the

book on how to be publicly in love with someone of the same gender.

Not

that there ever really was a book.

In

years gone by, there seems to have been only two alternatives

for a lesbian celebrity to take when it came to balancing her public

life with the media’s relentless and often provocative curiosity

about her sexuality and love life.

1) Go completely public, in front of all the cameras, and declare

“I’m a lesbian!” in the hope that by blowing the secret

wide open, the world will respect your honesty and leave you alone.

or

2)

Go completely into hiding, refusing to ever talk about your love

life in interviews, and keeping your partner so hidden from public

view that many people will have doubts (right until the bitter end)

as to who you love. Or whether you even have a love life.

But

Portia and Francesca have approached things

a little differently — a kind-of hybrid method of the old ways. As

anyone knows, love is not always a feeling that can be kept a secret,

nor is it usually able to withstand the intense scrutiny of the

public spotlight.

After

the news first hit the airwaves, Portia and Francesca seemed to

ignore all requests for interviews that might involve questions

about their relationship. But they also began to appear together

in public, with a complete lack of fuss, holding hands and wearing

engagement-type rings on their left ring fingers.

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