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Well, she’s not single anymore.
Foster acknowledged her sexuality in a large scale announcement for the first time in a 2013 Golden Globes acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award. She nervously built up to her big reveal: “I am, uh, single.” It was a wink and a nod to the fact that her sexuality was something of an open secret in Hollywood, if you could even call it that. She hadn’t actively tried to conceal it, but she didn’t flaunt it, either. Said Foster:
I’m here being all confessional, and I guess I have a sudden urge to say something I’ve never really been able to air in public, a declaration that I’m a little nervous about but maybe not quite as nervous as my publicist right now — hi Jennifer — but I’m just going to put it out there, right, loud and proud. I’m going to need your support on this. I am, uh, single. Yes, I am. I am single. No, I’m kidding. I mean, I’m not really kidding, but I’m kind of kidding. I mean, thank you for the enthusiasm. Can I get a wolf whistle or something? I hope that you’re not disappointed that there won’t be a big coming out speech tonight because I already did my coming out about a thousand 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, 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 prime-time reality show. And you guys might be surprised, but I am not Honey Boo Boo Child.
True to form, Foster, 51, declined to make a public statement about her nuptials. Her publicist would only confirm that the couple, who have been dating since last summer, had gotten married, E! reported. Hedison previously dated Ellen DeGeneres. They broke up in 2004.
Foster, who has been in show business for 48 years, has witnessed from the inside the transformation of a business where homosexuality was — and, in some cases, still is — something to be shushed and hidden away to the point of covering it up with fake marriages. Before she was a successful daytime television and Oscar host, DeGeneres was a cautionary tale. Leading the life of an openly gay actor, especially one headlining Hollywood blockbusters, meant you disclosed details about your personal life with friends and family, but didn’t necessarily show up at your premieres smooching your significant other.
Of course, that was also before TMZ. Now, 44 years after the Stonewall Riots, society expects its celebrities to be a little more forthcoming, a la Ellen Page, who recently came out in a speech at an LGBT youth conference in Las Vegas.
Foster’s move was similar to that of Good Morning America host Robin Roberts, who didn’t so much come out as publicly acknowledge her longtime partner, Amber Laign, in a Facebook post about her battle with cancer last year. Roberts didn’t actively conceal her orientation, either. She just didn’t shout about it.
But within the gay community, there has always been debate about how much disclosure is the “right” amount. CNN anchor Anderson Cooper was criticized for years as being closeted, despite the fact that the highly recognizable anchor was spotted at New York gay bars and frequently photographed with his boyfriend, Ben Maisani, with whom he owns a converted Manhattan firehouse. It was still a big deal when he formally came out in 2012. Cooper told Andrew Sullivan, “It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something – something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid. This is distressing because it is simply not true.”
In her speech, Foster also recognized Cydney Bernard, her former partner of 20 years, and their children together. The two ended their 20-year relationship in 2008.