Jodie Foster Comes Out As Gay And Also Single

Tonight at the Golden Globe awards, Jodie Foster was presented with the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award. After Robert Downey Jr. and his thin line of facial hair rambled on about who knows what, Jodie popped in front of the crowd with the kind of energy that immediately makes everyone on Twitter accuse folks of being under the influence. And perhaps she was — the gay influence. Because after 47 years in the industry, she’s finally for realzies come out. Sure there’s been the mention of a partner in speeches here. The jumbled and confusing lust-driven defense of Kristen Stewart there. But nothing concrete.

call me

Call me

After a long dramatic build-up, she did what everyone knew was coming. Troll the audience. “I’m…single,” she spit out with the same captivating energy she had from the moment she opened her mouth. Foster also thanked her ex-partner and co-parent, Cydney Bernard, as part of her own “modern family.” However after that she wowed America and brought the audience to tears with a plea for understanding.  She tried to communicate that no one can truly understand what it’s like to be under a microscope and in the spotlight from before you even know what the word lesbian means, and discussed coming out to her friends and family long ago.

The Accused (1988)

I can wear all the hats I want to now. Suck it.

Privacy is a thing of the past much like many of the sentiments that made her feel as if she needed to protect herself for so long. Yet many of them remain. So thank you Jodie. For telling us what we already knew. I think we (along with your mom) let out a collective sigh of relief and smiled knowing that one more person can breathe a little easier. It may be late, but it still matters. We can officially now state that one of the best actresses of our time is on our team (even if she might be retiring). Watch the speech now and important parts are transcribed below!

Also worth noting: Amy Poehler ended the ceremony by exclaiming “WE’RE GOING HOME WITH JODIE FOSTER!”


So while I’m here being all confessional, I guess I just have a sudden urge to say something that I’ve never been able to really air in public. So a declaration that I’m a little nervous about but maybe not quite as nervous as my publicist right now, huh Jennifer? But you know I’m just gonna put it out there, right? Loud and proud. So I’m gonna need your support on this. I am uh…single.

I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago. Back in the stone age in those very quaint days where a frazzled 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 audit the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance and a primetime reality show.

If you had been a public figure from the time you were a toddler, if you’d had to fight for a life that felt real and honest and normal against all odds then maybe you too might value privacy above all else.

[On Cydney Bernard] There is no way I could ever 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.

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Brittani Nichols is a Los Angeles based comedy person. When she's not tweeting about white people or watching television, she's probably eating pizza. Actually, she's probably doing all three of those things concurrently and when she's not doing THAT, she's sleeping. Brittani also went to Yale and feels weird about mentioning it but wants you to know.

Brittani has written 302 articles for us.

93 Comments

        • Thumb up 41

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          honestly, i see ellen page as coming out before either of these biddies

          kate moennig will never come out of the closet if she hasn’t at this point – she has made way too private a life to break that pattern now

          kristen stewart’s career is too “on” right now for her to do that any time soon

          page is on a nice lull in activity and the timing seems right HINT HINT

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          See, I don’t think KStew/RPattz (I can’t believe I’m unironically using those nicknames) was a big coverup, they seemed pretty genuine to me. However, I got some strong queer vibes from Kristen and Charlize Theron ‘fake’-flirting(speaking of Charlize, have you seen her new haircut? Sooo HOT), so I’m kinda assuming she’s bi, or something.

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          Yeah, I’m of the feeling that KStew is straight. As a commenter on the A.V. Club (I think, maybe? I comment on so many entertainment-related websites lately) said, I could see her dating RPattz as a cover-up thing and for the sake of the fangirls. I can’t see her cheating on him with the Snow White and the Huntsman director for that reason, though. She could be bisexual, of course, but personally she’s never come up on my queer-dar as anything but wishful thinking.

          Ellen Page, on the other hand… I’m hoping this is the year she finally comes out.

          Maybe a lot of this has to do with the fact that I’m way more attracted to EPage than KStew anyway, haha.

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          haha I can’t believe I actually got an upvote on that

          (which is not meant as a knock on the people who didn’t like my comment, I know your feels)

        • Thumb up 1

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          You can start preparing a statement now, to have on hand immediately after the event. I almost wondered if that was the case for this article when I saw the link on Facebook… hah but not really because we all knew and had things to say about it right as it was happening.

        • Thumb up 9

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          yeah, i think so, totally. but also i feel like kate isn’t “in” the closet. she’s never made an announcement, but she’s very publicly out for all intents and purposes.

        • Thumb up 2

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          That actually a valid point, and something that I’ve been thinking about lately. Why do celebrities have to make a public statement of “I’m gay” in order to not be considered in the closet?

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          I think the difference is that when celebrities don’t make a public statement, it doesn’t do much for LGBT visibility (we queers may conjecture endlessly about their likely gayness, but heteros will for the most part remain in the dark). When a celebrity makes an unequivocal statement about their sexuality, it of course gets into the news, which then increases visibility.

          However, that still doesn’t mean that anyone, celebrity or otherwise, should feel obligated to make a public announcement about who they like to naked-cuddle with if they don’t want to.

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          Yeah, you’re right about that – like, I’ve met plenty of people who weren’t aware of the sexuality buzz around even well-known “glass closet” candidates like Anderson Cooper, Jodie Foster and Zachary Quinto until they actually came out. People who don’t specifically pay attention to the topic of celebrities’ sexual orientations – or to entertainment gossip in general – don’t necessarily know anything about it.

    • Thumb up 2

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      It seems that she made a reference to/thanked Cydney Bernard (I think without saying that she was her partner), but she didn’t conclusively come out at that time. I found articles from later on (like 2012) bemoaning the fact that she still wouldn’t come out, and I know when I came out in 2009 (/2008?) and was reading up on like AfterEllen and stuff that gay people were still making a fuss about Jodie Foster being in the glass closet.

  1. Thumb up 12

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    I’m…I’m missing something. I didn’t understand why people were crying during her speech. Was that poignant? Her emotional tone was all over the place that it seemed like once she was building up to something, she’d switch to something else.

  2. Thumb up 4

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    I also feel like I have to fight for a life that feels real, normal, and honest when I know it’s not.. protecting my privacy so that I may never have to leave the closet. I’m definitely not under any spotlight yet somehow I found this speech kind of relatable. Wasn’t expecting anything this inspiring tonight!

  3. Thumb up 33

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    (I haven’t noticed these sorts of comments here yet, thank goodness, but I’m starting to notice responses to JF’s coming out on my FB feed that are really aggravating me. So here’s my FB rant about it.)

    Some of the responses to Jodie Foster coming out – or really, any public figure coming out, especially when it’s apparently “took you long enough” – frankly annoy me.

    a) “If you have nothing to hide then why not come out sooner?” Having nothing to hide can often look like making it a non-issue. Not everyone anchors their identity around their sexuality. If you’re not going to date them then what business is it of yours to know what their sexuality is? Why is anyone ever obligated to tell you things they may consider private for whatever reason?

    b) We claim that if more famous people – or WHOEVER really – “come out”, it will inspire others. BULLSHIT. People come out *now*, wherever they are in the process, and the FIRST THING we bitch about is “they took too long”. We don’t consider them inspiring *now* – when is the magical cut-off date for “inspirational coming out”?

    c) Also related to making sexuality a non-issue: Long before Darren Hayes “came out”, he had been telling interviewers who asked about his love life “my boyfriend’s name is Robert”. But it wasn’t until he made a public statement saying those three magic words, “I AM GAY”, that people finally counted him as “coming out”. And now every other article about him is “Gay pop star Darren Hayes” even though 90% of what he’s up to doesn’t really have to do with his sexuality.

    d) I once heard (in a discussion about multicultural communities dealing with queer-ness) of a Sudanese lesbian couple in Australia who were currently in their refugee community. They didn’t know what to do about their relationship because they knew it was taboo in their community. Some therapist-type person says “Come out! The queer community will accept you!”. BIG FUCKING MISTAKE. They came out, and not only did they get ostracised by their refugee community, the queer community wouldn’t accept them either. Now they’re peerless and isolated.

    We queermos and allies are *really fucking SHIT* at taking care of each other. We tell people “it gets better” rather than *making it better*. We try to guess at people’s sexualities, claiming “OMG they’re obviously GAY why won’t they come out already”, basing it on stupid outdated stereotypes of sexuality and gender – and then we try to judge people for not being “queer” enough. No one’s coming out story is ever good enough for anyone – it’s too late, it’s too obvious, it’s for publicity reasons, it’s fake, whatever. We fight over who counts as queer and don’t accept those that not only come out but are jumping up and down trying to get our attention. We tell people to “come out!” to be inspiration, to be a sacrifice, a martyr, the First Penguin – yet we do FUCK ALL for them once they actually do take that step. We filter and screen and fob off responsibility for caretaking to big antagonistic agencies – “Oh the GOVERNMENT should do all the work!” – and ignore how we *ARE* the Man, *WE* are The System.

    I will NEVER advocate for anyone “Coming Out” as some sort of inspirational community good, not when the “community” is so screwy as it is. What I will advocate for is people disclosing only as much as they feel comfortable, when and where they want to, for their own reasons. Screw everyone else. We don’t listen when people come out. Why should we force it when we’re not going to care?

    • Thumb up 12

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      x2. And now people are judging it like it was a piece of art rather than an intensely personal piece of information we didn’t have a right to, even though she decided to share it with us – the tone wasn’t right, the wording, “so weird” etc. Did anybody’s coming out read like it was written like Shakespeare? And can any of us say we came of age in the 70’s and 80’s when homophobia was rampant and closeting of megastar performers was imperative and self-consciousness from the whole experience probably lingers for her to this day?

      When they cut to Jane Lynch she had a strange, so serious expression. I wonder what she was thinking…

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        Nobody ever seems to remember that, in addition to the whole child star/living in the public eye her entire life thing during a time of rampant homophobia/cover ups, she also had a crazy-ass stalker/fan, that attempted to assassinate the president in honor of her, and she was something like 15 at the time, and it was super traumatizing for her. If that happened to me, I would be intensely private about my personal life, as well. Not that she, or any one else should ever have to justify her reasons for coming out or not coming out “publicly.”

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          Yeah, this exactly. I mean, I can’t say I’ve ever experienced something like that, but it makes more than enough sense how having other people go into harm’s way because of someone’s crazy crush on her would make a person a lot less willing to share their personal details.

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          That’s the thing I keep point out to people when they slam her for “being in the closet” that was a super serious load of shit she had to deal with at the time.

          I think it is important for many of us to be out if we can, so that young people have someone to look up to. I used to judge people more for not coming out, but as I get older I start to recognize that peoples lives are complex and they can’t always deal. So I figure that those of us who can be out should, and we should not give shit to people who can’t deal yet.

          And for Jodie, I’ve always given her a pass because of the crazy stalker problem.

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        Yes, but… was this really her ‘coming out’? I feel uncomfortable labelling it as such. And whatever it was, she CHOSE to (only kind of) allude to it in a speech for which she had months to prepare so her words were clearly chosen carefully. This wasn’t a spontaneous decision akin to getting drunk at Thanksgiving and telling your cousins. It was part of a larger bizarre, rambling speech that made lots of lofty allusions to many things without outright saying what she meant. Which worked for some things, and just seemed smug and overdone and confused with many other parts.

      • Thumb up 3

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        I DID come of age in the 80’s and it was a different world. Gays and lesbians were scapegoated and homophobia was open and accepted at all levels. Thank god for those who were brave enough to come out then but it was a huge risk.

    • Thumb up 3

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      “Not everyone anchors their identity around their sexuality.” This is not only SO spot-on, but I believe the bedrock of the issue when it comes to cattiness and disingenuous behaviour from within the community.

      I feel like we (myself included) ‘collect’ gay celebrities because it emboldens our ego, our sense of self, against those to whom we feel we have something to prove. We criticize these celebrities for not ‘coming out’ – that is to say, coming to our defense against a world that for some of us has been a cold terrain for a long time, or when they do so, not doing it in a way that meets our satisfaction. In strengthening our collective Queer ego through being right and therefore superior (“I knew she was gay this whole time, nice of her to finally join us”) we fortify the sense of separation between ourselves and the other, whose “otherness” has been magnified to such an extent that we can no longer feel our common humanity.

      At the end of the day we are all but skin, bone, blood and heart, and we make our choices to the best of our ability. We may be queers, but we are human beings all.

      All that being said, I count myself among those rooting for Ellen Page because, let’s face it. It doesn’t hurt to have a surplus in the lesbian babe reservoir. Of course, she doesn’t have to make a speech about it; she can just send me a personal e-mail.

  4. Thumb up 2

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    Hollly shit!Wow! Sok, I needed to bawl tonight apparently. I’ve loved her for so long, and man. My heart just leaps with joy at this. Goddamn. A coming out like this makes it worth all the years of not doing it. I just did my makeup all nice for a skype date too. DAMN YOU JODIE!

    <3<3

  5. Thumb up 8

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    guys when i tell you i barely knew who jodie foster was until this evening i am not lying to you. i don’t “do” celeb culture not because i think i’m above it (no no no not at all) just because i can never get my act together to see movies and i can’t read tabloids because they give me body image anxiety and i’m honestly so absorbed in internet/writer/ny media culture that i can’t handle another culture on top of that. anywho, suffice it to say this evening when all of this was happening i emailed the autostraddle team to say: “(sorry i am not participating in the jodie foster situation, i honestly wouldn’t even recognize her if i saw her on the street, unless you promise she legit looks like taylor in which case i guess i’d be like “oh that human looks like taylor” so i am sort of useless w/r/t everything important now. but go team go!)”.

    THAT SAID. anyone who calls another human being a “righteous soul sister in life” is a-okay with me, so mazel tov jodie and happy sunday evening to all.

    • Thumb up 9

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      omg! vanessa i love you; also jodie foster isn’t a tabloid person at all, i’ve never seen her in any of those magazines. she was my hero growing up because she wrote, directed and starred in ‘little man tate’ and that was what i wanted to do — write/direct/star in things, and so i wanted to be jodie foster so bad. she started acting when she was young and that’s what i wanted to do then, too. she never came out but everybody knew in the lesbian community so it’s just been a thing for a while.

      vanessa i’m making a gallery and you’ll see

      • Thumb up 6

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        i’m upset because i just commented on this and for some reason it didn’t go through but let me try to recreate that brilliance…

        riese! i love you too! and i am very excited for the gallery, am mentally preparing myself right now for a lot of pictures that look like taylor but aren’t taylor.

        also you do write/direct/star in a thing — that thing is autostraddle dot com and it is Very Important. so, i guess you can check that off your childhood dream list!

  6. Thumb up 6

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    Wow… all right, so this was censored when it was on tv starting from the point where she asked the audience to wolf whistle until right after she said she’d already done her coming out. At first I was like “nah, no WAY they’d censor something like this in today’s day and age” but they did. I mean, I got from the context of her speech that she was discussing her sexuality but the words “coming out” were silenced, effectively leading to a “huh, what?” feeling at the end. Did anyone else notice this?

  7. Thumb up 4

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    It was rambling and a bit strange at times, but I liked her speech, it was very moving. I really liked how she talked privacy because it seems like people feel entitled to know so much about anyone deemed a celebrity and it’s really not any of our business what they get up to in their private lives. And as I’ve seen mentioned, she had some stalker guy who tried kill the president to impress her. Well yeah between that and growing up in the public eye, of course privacy would be something you valued above all else.

    I do wonder what I may have missed in that part where the sound cut out because it seemed like that happened pretty much everywhere.

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      I really liked how she was true to herself and her convictions about privacy while doing it. I felt it paraphrased as “yes, I’m gay, although I don’t know why I have to tell you assholes this since it’s been obvious for years, duh. Thanks. Now F’off.”

  8. Thumb up 3

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    WE’RE ALL GOING HOME WITH JODIE FOSTER!

    but wouldn’t it be great if there was something we could do to thank her that wouldn’t seem like were were trying to get all up in her private life/make a big deal about her being gay when she’s never wanted all that?

  9. Thumb up 37

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    I honestly never thought I’d see this in my lifetime. I’m so proud of her and so glad I was watching live. I had no idea she was even getting this award tonight. Once she started her speech and it was obvious she was going somewhere she’s never really been willing to go before, I had to sit down. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
    For all the “I don’t get it”s, “what’s the big deal”, “her speech was weird” comments – I don’t think anybody can really understand what this must have been like for her. She had to have been nervous as hell. This is an intensely private public figure. The reason you don’t see her in tabloids is because she conducts herself in a manner to never be “interesting” enough to put in tabloids. She’s been in the business since she was 3. And yes, an insane stalker attempted to assassinate the president to impress her when she was 18. 18, people!!!! WHat kind of mind fuck do you think that would do to you at 18? This is before we even had the word “stalker.” This guy followed her from LA to Yale and actually enrolled in a class there. But most of you are too young to know this.
    And the crying… the crying was because this was brave & honest as FUCK. I live & work in Hollywood. That room is filled with the most important people in the business. The people who determine if you ever work again, if your movie will get green-lit, if your calls will be returned. And in an ironic way, her refusal to ever come out like this before actually made it a bigger deal. Like anything you go out of your way to hide, the longer and harder you try to hide it, the bigger it becomes. No, no one in that room was hearing anything they didn’t already know. But they were witnessing someone who has always been extremely guarded and private finally say “fuck it, I don’t care if I ever work again, this is who I am and I can’t hide it and deny the most important people in my life anymore.” Everyone in that room knows how hard it is to get work even if you’re the most beautiful, talented person out there. You get discriminated against for other reasons that have nothing to do with any of that. Please remember, when Ellen came out, she didn’t work again for 5 years!!! And that wasn’t so long ago. The sad truth is that as much as Hollywood puts out “liberal, progressive” subject matter, behind the scenes it’s one of the most sexist, racist, homophobic, misogynist, ageist systems around. While she may never want to be in front of the camera again, she certainly wants to be behind it. This is her art! And being true to herself may just screw that up or certainly make it harder than it already is which, particularly as a woman, any woman, is pretty damn hard. She just did one of the scariest most difficult things someone in her position could do. And she did it in pretty much the biggest, boldest, bravest way possible with grace and honesty.
    Bravo Jodie! May others receive it and feel brave enough to do the same.

  10. Thumb up 3

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    I can’t stop watching it over and over. Such beautiful simplicity.

    I never had a concept of Jodie as a person before, and now am left with the sense that she is grateful, self aware, mature, insightful, principled, daggy, flawed, authentic and unapologetic. All things that I would like to be, so bravo.

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    Can I just say I’m so glad she said that she came out ages ago? I’m really sick of this thing where people who are in the public eye are treated by other queer people as if they were closeted even if/even though they may be out. If you’re out to your friends, family, and co-workers…you’re out. There’s no requirement that you inform anybody and everybody who knows your name.

  12. Thumb up 4

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    Ok ramble alert:
    I still can’t get over it, and I’ve watched the clip too many times now. I can’t believe the sound got cut off at that crucial moment–I was on the edge of my seat like: OMG IT IS FINALLY HAPPENING; THANK YOU WORLD–WTF IS THIS. I might have shouted at my TV, esp cause it was kinda traumatic to watch Mel Gibson mime whistling at her. I felt sooo awkward seeing it in real-time. But, after watching a few times, I have to say that I’m a fan of the entire thing. I can’t imagine how nerve-wracking it must have been to write/memorize/deliver that speech, especially, as so many posters have said, she didn’t “owe” it to anyone. I know that I, for sure, would not have had the courage to do this. I’m kinda irked that while she was talking about her ex-partner Cydney they didn’t even pan to her face, and yet we had to be exposed to Mel Gibson’s face like 8 times throughout the damn thing. Anyone else think of that? Not ok GG editors! But yeah, what a great night. <3 Jodie Foster. I should probably resume working now. Sigh.

  13. Thumb up 8

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    I thought her speech was really rambling and weird (some of the people I was watching it with thought she was drunk or stoned), but I’m glad that she finally got a chance to address her critics, and in a way that really added a lot to the conversation about celebrities being out or not and what it means exactly for them to be “out.” I have mixed feelings because I think it is a great thing for celebrities to come out and be an example for younger queer people, but I also wonder how much that actually does. How much can a young LGBT person living in a homophobic, isolated environment really be able to relate to some Hollywood star and say “s/he is proof I can be out one day.” The lives of people in Hollywood and New York seem so far away and foreign when you’re a 14-year-old in podunk suburbia or whatever.

    And yeah, those of us who aren’t famous are never made to feel like we have to tell every single person we come in contact with what our identity is. (Although when I first came out as bi, I did go through a weird phase where I felt guilty if I might ever ever be mistaken for straight – like if someone even just asked me “Do you think [X dude] is attractive?” I would feel obliged to say after offering my opinion “oh um btw I don’t just like dudes though!”) It is kind of weird to apply different standards to famous people, especially when we already make famous people of all sexual orientations do that in other aspects of their lives.

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    Didn’t watch it. Didn’t need to. Between FB and Twitter, my feed was ablaze with everyone who thought they had a right to comment on her coming out. Coming out is personal. It’s gut-wrenching. It’s saying this is part of who I am. It’s opening yourself to any number of things, including criticism, ridicule and even hate. Just because of who or how you love. I was astounded and even disgusted by those who’s pious, self-righteous comments claimed it was too little or she took too long to actually “come out”. Some were angry she hadn’t come out sooner. Some are still angry she didn’t say the words they wanted to hear. People…OUR PEOPLE..are calling it “self indulgent” and “whiny”. There are jokes about her being “wasted”, “peri-menopausal” or “manic”…really? REALLY?? The woman opened up and bared a part of her soul for all the world to see. That alone gets her crazy mad respect from me. I have unfriended about a dozen people this morning. I’m officially coming out as intolerant of jackassery!

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    I’m still absolutely convinced that K-stew is bisexual. In an interview, she stated that her first crush was on a spice girl. Also, she played Joan Jett in the Runaways movie and the chemistry between her and Dakota Fanning is definitely questionable.

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