Jodie Foster was the talk of the Golden Globes after an emotional speech while accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement.
Usually fiercely private Jodie Foster, 50, surprised the audience as she touched on her sexuality, her rarely-seen sons, Charles, 14, and Kit, 12, and her ailing mother, who suffers from dementia.
Jodie Foster also made a moving public tribute to her former partner Cydney Bernard, who bowed her head with emotion as she supported Jodie Foster from her seat beside their two children.
“While I’m here being all confessional, I guess I just have just a sudden urge to say something that I’ve never really been able to air in public,” Jodie Foster said with a smile.
“[It’s] a declaration that I’m a little nervous about – but maybe not quite as nervous as my publicist right now. I’m just going to put it out there – loud and proud.”
She paused and asked the crowd for support before finally saying: “I am single.”
Jodie Foster received a boost from her close friend Mel Gibson, who offered a wolf-whistle from her table in the audience.
She continued: “This is not going to be a big coming out speech tonight because I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago back in the stone age – in those very quaint days when a fragile girl would open up to trusted friends and family and coworkers and then gradually proudly to everyone who knew her.
“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.”
Jodie Foster thanked her “heroic co-parent, my ex partner in love, but righteous soul sister in life. My confessor… most beloved BFF of 20 years, Cydney Bernard”.
“Thank you, Cyd. I am so proud of our modern family, our amazing sons, Charlie and Kit who are my reason to breathe and to evolve. … Boys, in case you didn’t know it, this song, like all of this, this song is for you.”
Her sons smiled proudly as they watched from the audience.
In a moment that moved most in the audience to tears, she paid tribute to her 84-year-old mother, Evelyn “Brandy” Almond, who suffers from dementia.
She said: “I love you, I love you, I love you and I hope if I say this three times, it will magically and perfectly enter into your soul, fill you with grace and the joy of knowing that you did good in this life.”
Fighting back tears, she added: “You’re a great mom. Please take that with you when you’re finally okay to go.”
She appeared to hint at retirement at the close of her speech, saying: “This feels like the end of one era and the beginning of something else – scary and exciting.”
Backstage, Jodie Foster denied she was stepping away from the public eye, adding: “Oh no, I could never stop acting. You’d have to drive me behind a team of horses.”
Jodie Foster publicly hinted at her sexuality for the first time in 2007 when she paid tribute to “my beautiful Cydney” at Women in Entertainment event – referring to her then partner Bernard.
The former couple met on the set of the film Sommersby in 1993 and had two sons.
Jodie Foster has never revealed the identity of the father or the circumstances of their conception.
As with most questions about her personal life, the actress has refused to comment on gossip that the father was an old university friend from Yale, who is also gay.
Jodie Foster landed her first job in a sun cream commercial when she was three years old and appeared in 50 films before she left school, including her shocking breakthrough role as a child prostitute in Taxi Driver with Robert De Niro.
Jodie Foster became one of the most successful adult stars in Hollywood by taking on gutsy roles like rape victim Sarah Tobias in The Accused in 1988 and Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs three years later, both of which won her Best Actress Oscars.