While accepting the honorary Cecil B. Demille Award at the Golden Globes, acting legend Jodie Foster made vague but intriguing references to her sexuality, hinted at retirement from the business and brought the ballroom to tears as she addressed her two sons in the audience.
Los Angeles - Jodie Foster teased the Golden Globes on Sunday by hailing her female ex-partner as "one of the deepest loves of my life" - but then denying she was giving a coming-out speech.
Foster, long rumoured to be lesbian, surprised the audience by announcing she had a confession to make, saying she had "a sudden urge to say something that I've never really been able to air in public."
Announcing a "declaration that I'm a little nervous about, but maybe not quite as nervous as my publicist," she said: "I'm just going to put it out there, right?
"Loud and proud, right? So I'm going to need your support on this," she told the A-list audience at the Beverly Hilton hotel, but this time listening intently.
"I am single," she said, to laughter. "Yes, I am. I am single. No, I'm kidding, but I mean, I'm not really kidding, but I'm kind of kidding.
"Seriously, 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."
'I am so proud of our modern family'
She then went on to give a shout-out to a list of friends in the audience, including Mel Gibson, before saying: "There is no way I could ever stand here without acknowledging one of the deepest loves of my life.
Pointing to ex-partner Cydney Bernard, she called her "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."
"Thank you Cyd," she said. "I am so proud of our modern family. Our amazing sons, Charlie and Kit (Christopher), who are my reason to breathe and to evolve, my blood and soul."
The 50-year-old, who won a Golden Globe and Oscar for her role in 1991's Silence of the Lambs, was picking up the award from Globes organisers the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which announced it last November.
Previous honorees include Al Pacino, Steven Spielberg, Judy Garland, Harrison Ford, Walt Disney, Frank Sinatra, Bette Davis and Lucille Ball. Morgan Freeman received the award at last year's show.
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