Cate Blanchett Has Had Many Relationships With Women, What Is Even Happening

Stop. Whatever you are doing right now, stop it. Give me your undivided attention. Are you ready for this? (No, you are not.) Cate Blanchett, Our Elfin Goddess of Porcelain Skin, has had many relationships with women. Many relationships with women. I know this because Variety published an interview with her today about her upcoming queer-centric film, Carol, which is based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 lesbian pulp novel The Price of Salt. When the interviewer asked her if this is her first time being a lesbian, Cate Blanchett said, “On film — or in real life?” In real life, duh, Cate Blanchett! “Pressed for details about whether she’s had past relationships with women, she responds: ‘Yes. Many times.’”

You heard me: Cate Blanchett has had relationships with women in real life many. times.

The two-time Academy Award winner, three-time Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe Award winner, and one time (fictional) Queen of England did other research for her role as a “charismatic New Yorker who embarks on a passionate love affair with a younger department store clerk, Therese.” (Therese is played by Rooney Mara, because somebody read my Galadriel/Lisbeth Salander fan fiction.) For example, Blanchett “read a lot of girl-on-girl books from the period.” Also, she talked a lot about erogenous zones with Carol‘s costume designer.

“We asked, ‘What is the most erotic part of the body?’” Blanchett says. “We kept saying that wrists are really erotic. The neck. The ankles. The way Highsmith writes, she’s got this exquisite observation of detail that most people would miss, but a lover’s eye never would. We talked a lot about erogenous zones.”

Blanchett says Carol is not Blue Is the Warmest Color, which is good because I’m not sure I want to see the Lady of the Golden Wood eating spaghetti with her hands.

Carol opens at the Cannes Film Festival in five short days, on May 17. Variety seems to think if the film is a success, Blanchett will win another Oscar, but if it’s a bust, no one will ever make a gay movie again. It’s a risk I’m willing to take. (Honestly, what have we got to lose?) The film also stars Sarah Paulson, Coach Eric Taylor, and Carrie Brownstein.

I will commence reading The Price of Salt immediately and let you know as soon as you can get your eyeballs on Carol. In the meantime, rest comfortably knowing that Cate Blanchett is familiar with gal pal erogenous zones and has enjoyed the fruits of her knowledge “many times.”

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1561 articles for us.


  1. I took a lesbian pulp fiction class in college – The Price of Salt was by far my favorite book, followed closely by Desert of the Heart. It’s an amazing book.

    Blanchett said she read a bunch of the queer pulp novels of the era to prepare herself for the role. Bets on what they were? My money is on Spring Fire and any of the Beebo Brinker novels.

    • so were the books from this 50’s-60’s era of lesbian pulp fiction mostly written by lesbians? and were they intended to be read by lesbians mostly? amazed this happened during that time.

      • sometimes they were written by lesbians but sometimes not — and they all had unhappy endings, as far as i know. it was okay at the time for these books to be published as long as the lesbians were “punished” by the end or “saved” by a man. lesbians read them because they were desperate for representation, even if the queer characters were usually ‘the bad guys.’

        • Lest’s see if I can remember some of my lesbian authors correctly:

          – Patricia Highsmith (she wrote The Price of Salt using Claire Morgan as a pen-name; the book was re-released years later by Naiad Press as Carol; one of the first pulps to have a happy ending).

          – Valerie Taylor (pen-name for Velma Young; Whisper Their Love, The Girls in 3-B, Stranger on Lesbos, A World Without Men, etc).

          – Sloane Britain or Briton (pen-name for Elaine Williams; there’s not much information about her, but some rumours said that she commited suicide because her family couldn’t accept her lesbianism).

          – Marijane Meaker (used several pen-names as Vin Packer for her pulp books; Ann Aldrich for her kinda non-fictions books like Take a Lesbian to Lunch, etc). She had a two-years relationship with Patricia Highsmith.

          – Artemis Smith or ArtemisSmith (pen-name for Annselm L.N.V. Morpurgo; she describes herself this way: “I was born ageless and gender free,” although she uses her/she pronouns).

          – Ann Bannon (The Beebo Brinker Chronicles).

          Another well known author, but not a lesbian, was Marion Zimmer Bradley, who wrote several pulp books using several pen-names (Lee Chapman, Miriam Gardner, Morgan Ives), but she refused to talk about this part of her career or her writing on The Ladder.

          Happy endings are not a thing in pulp-fictions (The Price of Salt was, like I said, an exception at the time, 1952). But in the early 60’s it gets a little better, but not much.

          The genre declined in the middle of the 60’s when Desert of the Heart (1964) by Jane Rule and Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing (1965) by May Sarton were released by mainstream publishers.

        • What Riese said. The pulp novels themselves had to pass postal censorship, which meant they couldn’t be seen as approving of “deviant” lifestyles. So all lesbian characters had to either end up insane, die, or turn back to men. In that way they displayed “moral character” by showing what awaited all women that turned away from men.

          Marijane Meaker/Vin Packer, the author of Spring Fire, spoke at my University. She told us how, after the publishing of Spring Fire, that she received hundreds of letters from women, many of them married, living out in rural areas and small towns, saying things like “I never knew there was anyone else like me in the world” and “I thought all women felt this way and just ignored it, please help.” One of those women was a young housewife named Ann Bannon, who one day went on to write the Beebo Brinker Chronicles.

          According to Meaker, she replied to Bannon’s letter, inviting her to New York City to talk about her situation, and they wound up carrying out this secret affair in the city on the weekends when Bannon could catch the train away from her husband and family to spend time with her. I have no sources to back that up other than the story coming from Meaker during a speech, but the lady was charming as hell at 80. I can only imagine what she was like in her 20s.

          • Wow, thanks Riese and everyone for the info, very interesting. Man, what a tough life back then. :/ But I’m glad the books at least were better than nothing.

          • So, Marijane Meaker and Ann Bannon…? Plus her relationship with Highsmith. She was working her way on a library, by any chance?

            I have 2 books signed by her (technically as Vin Packer): Spring Fire and The Evil Friendship.

            If my house sets on fire, I don’t give a s*** about the rest of my things, I would get those books out not matter what.

  2. Past me, present me, and future me are currently all way to excited to be living in a world where Cate Blanchett has had (and hopefully will have) many relationships with women.

    Excuse me, all three of me are going to go die of happiness now.

    • I just happened to have the LOTR sound track on as I stopped by to just see what was up with AS this afternoon, it’s like it was fated.
      Also I don’t think I’ll be able to doubt my gaydar ever again.

  3. From Blanchett’s wiki page: “She had a penchant for dressing in masculine clothing, and went through goth and punk phases during her teenaged years, shaving her head at one point.” BE STILL, MY BEATING HEART.

  4. I got to see Carol at a test screening. Cate Blanchett was great and Rooney Mara was great and in the focus group afterwards I told them to show us MORE of their relationship. I also took the opportunity to tell them that me and my friends would see any movie with queer people in it so please make more of that, it’s good for business, thanks. You can thank me when Hollywood takes my advice and starts churning out lesbian romances.

  5. I’m really confused about the wording. The interviewer asked if this was her first time being a lesbian, and she said “Yes”? It made sense when I read the article, but worded here it’s confusing.


  6. cate blanchet in charlotte gray and eva larue in some danielle steel movie called remembrance, which the local channel in Kenya just absolutely loved replaying and i wasn’t mad because larue looked almost otherworldly to me. Anyway, those two women were the crushes of my teenage years and to hear that blanchet loves other ladies lady bits…….yeah awesome news

  7. Firstly: Cate Blanchett as Carol and Sarah Paulson as Abby is the best casting decisions ever made. I have been counting down the hours to seeing this movie for the last 6 months.

    Secondly: “MANY TIMES”?! This is huge news.

  8. So tired of the Blue is the Warmest Color jabs and all the reductive comments about spaghetti. This was an amazing film and a modern cinematic classic and there was far more to that film than spaghetti and sex. And since when did Adele eat spaghetti with her hands? That movie was art, absolutely loved it, it deserved all the accolades and many more.

    • People are allowed to disagree with that opinion/have opinions of their own. I also thought BITWC was pretty awful (the lead actresses were great, though, despite terrible direction, editing, and what had to be the world’s most uncomfortably male-gazey lesbian sex scene ever filmed for a mainstream movie).

  9. As an Australian… you’re welcome!
    Having provided the world with Portia, Ruby Rose and now Cate, I think we are now officially punching above our weight in breeding awesome queer ladies!

    As much as it would be mind blowing to see her publicly date a woman in future, her husband seems really nice. They were Co-directors of the Sydney theatre company a few years ago and seemed like a very ‘together’ modern power couple. And they just adopted a new baby this year. .. so I’m hoping they stay together but she speaks more openly about not being hetero and is a positive representation of bi/pan/queer/fluid (however she identifies)

    They also renovated their harbourside mansion in Sydney to make it more eco-friendly because that is what awesome rich people do!!!

  10. I KNEW IT. I can’t tell you how many times I have checked the personal life section of her wiki page only to see “husband this, children that” and I KNEW there was some queer in there that just hadn’t been revealed yet.

  11. I’ve been working my way through the Price of Salt, but Amazon send me a shitty university bookstore copy that looked like it had come out of my mom’s 1995 printer with two heavily made-up straight women on the cover!
    Still trying to persevere.

  12. ALSO. Perhaps I am high from my recent encounter with the Sleater-Kinney reunion tour, but isn’t this the most important part?

    [Emphasis very much mine. Be still my CB-loving heart].


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