BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Some people quietly come out, one by one, to family and friends in a very personal way. Some people take to Social Media to declare their authentic self, putting the truth out there for all to see but in an impersonal way.
Then there is the remarkable Jodie Foster, fiercely protective of her private life while long being suspected of being a lesbian, who finally put the rumors to rest with a stunning “coming out” speech Sunday night at the Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hills Hotel in front of a star-studded audience of her peers and a mere 2 billion viewers watching on television in all corners of the world.
Never in the history of civilization has one person created such a dramatic and public moment concerning one of the most difficult things in one’s personal life: Coming out.
But while accepting the Cecil B. Demille Lifetime Achievement Award, Foster turned what could have been a humdrum acceptance speech into an electrifying moment that will go down in television history. She declared that she has a big announcement to make, something she said would make her publicist nervous.
“I’m just going to put it out there, loud and proud … I am, uh, single,” pausing as any great actress would do, to create dramatic effect. “I hope you’re not disappointed that there won’t be a big coming-out speech tonight. I already did my coming out about 1,000 years ago back in the Stone Age, those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends and family and co-workers, and then gradually and proudly to everyone who knew her, to everyone she actually met."
As Foster backed into her big announcement, she poked a little humor about the coming out process by joking that stars are now expected to have “a press conference, a fragrance and a prime-time reality show.”
“You just might be surprised but I am not Honey Boo Boo Child. Please don’t cry, because my reality show is so boring,” she said. “If you had been a public figure since you were a toddler, maybe you’d value privacy above all else, too.”
Foster, 50, shot to stardom as a child actor. At age 13, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1976 for her performance as a preteen prostitute in Martin Scorsese’s brilliant “Taxi Driver,” starring Robert De Niro. She would win the Oscar in 1989 for Best Actress for her performance as a rape victim in “The Accused.” Foster also got Oscar nominations for “The Silence Of The Lambs” in 1991 and “Nell” in 1994.
During her acceptance speech, Foster acknowledged her former partner of 20 years, production manager Cydney Bernard:
“There is no way I could stand here without acknowledging one of the deepest loves of my life, my heroic co-parent, my ex-partner in love but righteous soul sister in life, my confessor, ski buddy, consigliere, most beloved, BFF of 20 years Cydney Bernard, thank you Cyd,' Foster said. 'I am so proud of our modern family, our amazing sons Charlie and Kit who are my reason to breathe, and to evolve, my blood and soul. And boys, in case you didn’t know it, this song, all of this. This song is for you.”
Their two sons, Charles “Charlie” Foster and Christopher “Kit” Foster, sat in the audience and beamed as Foster bravely told the world the truth about her life.
Social Media explodes with well-wishers
Herndon Graddick, president of GLAAD, said: "When one of the most critically-praised actresses speaks about her identity and relationships on one of the largest stages in the world, it shows just how much the tide has turned. Given Jodie Foster's lifetime of achievements, this is a significant moment for LGBT visibility. As more and more high-profile LGBT people like Jodie speak openly, those who do not accept LGBT people will continue to fall behind the times."
Frank Bruni, the openly gay commentator for The New York Times: "We watched someone work thru decades of fear, loneliness, progress and flickering hope on national TV. No acting. Raw. Wow. #jodiefoster"
Bruni: "This Jodie Foster speech riveting. Just riveting."
Openly gay singer Justin Utley: “Thank you Jodie Foster for being brave. Always an excellent actress, director, and producer, who has "come out" while in her career, while many others still wait until their careers are over, in an attempt at making some buzz. She never lied like so many others in the industry did, who are now out and winning awards for coming out "post-career". She always preferred to be private, even as a kid. I respect her a lot for being so forward, private, truthful and for trying to bridge yet another gap in the attitudes towards openly gay actors and actresses working in straight roles in Hollywood, who were banned and type-cast just 10 years ago.”
Award-winning gay actor Alan Cumming: “'Aww Jodie foster, I would like to be your friend.”
Lesbian entertainer Rosie O’Donnell: “jodie foster - rather amazing speech.”
Kristin Chenoweth: “@rosie im bawling. Jodie foster killed me. Wonderful.”
Latino singer Ricky Martin, who only recently came out: “[Jodie] Foster On your terms. It's your time! Not before nor after. It's when it feels right!”
Kate Bosworth: "Normal is not something to aspire to, it's something to get away from." - Jodie Foster
Perez Hilton: “Surprised that a lot of my gays on Facebook are roasting Jodie Foster for her #GoldenGlobes speech! ... I applaud her!!!”
Openly gay director and choreographer Adam Shankman: “In the most beautiful and real way, jodie Foster just stole the#goldenglobes.”
Bravo TV’s Andy Cohen: “MAZEL JODIE!! Incredible”
Openly gay actor and comic Alec Mapa: “Wow. Jodie Foster's I'm not coming out speech is the longest ever.”
“Modern Family” star Jesse Tyler Ferguson: “Jodie Foster. You are perfection. I love you.”
Chelsea Clinton: “Thank you #JodieFoster for your sharing your grace & grit over 47 yrs, and most of all tonight.”
Democratic operative Donna Brazile: “#JodieFoster. Aint nothing more real than a woman who bears it all and still got more to geaux. Loved that speech/sermon/testimony! Whee.”
Donna Brazile: “Oh talented one - #Jodie Foster! Stay authentic. We shall love you more. #GoldenGlobe”