Sorry Y’all, Cate Blanchett Didn’t Actually Have Many Relationships With Women

Well, it was a nice five days, wasn’t it? A real nice 120 hours. A glorious almost-week of thinking Cate Blanchett had enjoyed many dips in the lady pond, many trips around the sapphic sun, many evenings at Jodie Foster’s clambake. It was just Thursday when Variety published a profile of Blanchett that included this exchange:

When asked if this is her first turn as a lesbian, Blanchett curls her lips into a smile. “On film — or in real life?” she asks coyly. Pressed for details about whether she’s had past relationships with women, she responds: “Yes. Many times,” but doesn’t elaborate. Like Carol, who never “comes out” as a lesbian, Blanchett doesn’t necessarily rely on labels for sexual orientation.

We delighted in the glory of that revelation, like everyone else with a beating heart. (I mean, even the New York Times was excited.) And now we must all rip our clothes and wail because it turns out Variety misquoted Blanchett, and she hasn’t gone spelunking in Janey Cave, after all. While promoting her upcoming lesbian-themed film, Carol, at a Cannes press conference, Blanchett told reporters:

“From memory, the conversation ran: ‘Have you had relationships with women?’ And I said: ‘Yes, many times. Do you mean have I had sexual relationships with women? Then the answer is no.’ But that obviously didn’t make it.”

Fine, Cate Blanchett. FINE. You didn’t spend your nights in the late ’90s sitting on a roof with Gillian Anderson getting high and talking about UFOs and the ephemeral nature of life and our tiny place in this enormous universe. You didn’t hold her hand at the MoMA and brush her hair out of her face when she started to cry after you and found yourselves face-to-canvas with Monet’s wall-sized Water Lilies. You weren’t kicked out of Notre-Dame de Paris one Sunday morning after getting accidentally drunk together at brunch and deciding to attend mass on a whim. You don’t need the scissoring t-shirt I bought to mail to you because NONE OF THAT HAPPENED.

No, really, none of that happened. It’s been a really overactive five days in my imagination.

At Cannes, Blanchett also said:

But in 2015, the point should be: who cares? Call me old fashioned but I thought one’s job as an actor was not to present one’s boring, small, microscopic universe but to make a psychological connection to another character’s experiences. My own life is of no interest to anyone else. Or maybe it is. But I certainly have no interest in putting my own thoughts and opinions out there.

The Variety reporter is sticking by his story. He tweeted this morning to say the quote was contextually accurate.

Whatever, though, buddy. I won’t allow you to hurt me with your interpretation of the truth, ever again! You’ve pulled this crap before!

Sigh.

Goodbye, sweet dreams of Lúthien and Galadriel locked in a sweaty tangle in Rivendell. (LOL, JK. I’m still going to dream that.) (And read the fan fiction.) But for now, let us mourn our loss together: the whisper of a promise of a world we never knew.

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle managing editor who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 821 articles for us.

63 Comments

  1. Sigh. I have to admit I was really excited about this, but I’m not surprised to hear it wasn’t true. I’m just glad she didn’t purposely give a coy answer to drum up press for the film. I still think she’s completely amazing.

  2. Damn. Funny enough, when I read the initial Q&A, this interpretation of it (that “relationship” doesn’t necessarily mean sexual relationship) was the first thing that occured to me. But then I got caught up in all the giddiness and brushed aside my doubts.

    At least she was gracious in her response to the misquote. You could say she didn’t Blanchett the thought of being mistaken for gay…

  3. Your writing is so funny and clever that I’m almost not sad about this. Cate Blanchett will always have had many relationships with women in my dreams. *sigh*

  4. Oh well that is a quick death of a dream. For what it’s worth, I put a whole lot of photos of Cate, Gillian, Jodie and others on Heather’s first Cate Blanchett has swum many times in the Lady Pond actually, but now only half of them may be relevant. Dreams die hard 🙁

    • Ok I went to HH’s first Cate Blanchett post and my comment, no 97, is still awaiting moderation, probably because I copied the shortcuts to the photos. Check these photos out though, as they reveal a little bit possibly, about Ms Scully, Ms Clarice Starling, and Ms Ellen De Generes. Please approve these photos Lesbian Jesus’s.

    • Is my post approved (on Heather Hogan’s last Cate Blanchett post Cate Blanchett has had many relationships with women, what is even happening)? There is a lot of interesting photos in there I am sure are relevant. Is this because it is still Sunday in the U.S? *grumbles*

  5. I find it a bit sketchy though. When someone asks you if you’ve had relationships with women, I think it’s obvious they are talking about romantic/sexual ones. Unless you are completely devoid of female relatives and friends and co-workers, and we already know the latter to be untrue, it’s taken as a given. The fact that she said yes, and then clarified later either says to me, she wanted the misinterpretation publicity buzz for what would be a smaller movie or she slipped and said something she didn’t intend to say and tried to clean it up in the interview or after the interview.

    Either way, I’m a bit disappointed in Ms. Blanchett. I thought she was better than this.

  6. She also said: “[Carol’s] sexuality is a private affair. What often happens these days is if your are homosexual you have to talk about it constantly, the only thing, before your work. We’re living in a deeply conservative time.” So…
    I get really tired of people who don’t identify as gay/lesbian/bisexual/queer trying to tell us how we should deal with things.

    • I mentioned this on another post, but my impression of that quote was that she was trying to say, from the point of view of an actor, that gay people who are public figures always have to respond to so much invasive scrutiny about their sexuality first before they’re able to put the focus on their work. It’s vaguely worded but I think (hope?) she was trying to be supportive.

      • Well to me it sounds more like what she’s actually annoyed by is the fact that heterosexual actors like her get asked about their sexuality because we’re finally moving towards a place where everyone isn’t automatically assumed to be straight.

  7. That entire paragraph about Blanchett and Gillian Anderson is such a beautiful articulation of everything I longed for in my heart of hearts, and then had snatched away before I even truly had time to acknowledge and nurture it.

    I mean, I had a vague feeling she was talking about just “relationships” and not “sexual relationships” but everyone was so excited it was hard not to get my hopes up.

  8. “You didn’t spend your nights in the late ‘90s sitting on a roof with Gillian Anderson getting high and talking about UFOs and the ephemeral nature of life and our tiny place in this enormous universe. You didn’t hold her hand at the MoMA and brush her hair out of her face when she started to cry after you and found yourself face-to-canvas with Monet’s wall-sized Water Lilies.”

    i swear 2 god tho this was so real…………. #IWANT2BELIEVE

  9. I think maybe the worst thing about this revelation is not that Cate is actually straight, but that she might actually be annoying! Because I really really can’t stand it when straight people answer that question with, “Of course I’ve had relationships with women… just not sexual ones!” Like, why straight people, why do you do this?

  10. Ah well. She’s still great. So, This reminded me of a dream I have that a ton of celebrities/politicians/household names will all decide together to come out publicly as not straight and/or not cis and they will contact the New York Times, which will run a giant front page alphabetical list and then it will inspire millions of Americans to come out and/or be more tolerant of LGBT folks. And then we won’t have to worry about misquotes like this.

  11. I would just like to take a moment to thank Heather Hogan for introducing me to Autostraddle when she moved over here last fall. The comments over here are so much more respectful than *other* sites. If I never read another comment about how someone married to a man shouldn’t bother coming out (or how grateful they are that she isn’t actually queer since she’s married to a man) it’ll be too soon.

    • Reading the comments on any article on bisexuals on the other site is a painful compulsion I can’t break, every time I think this will be better and it never is. I also found autostraddle through HH switching websites and am profoundly grateful!

  12. Yeah, I had a feeling. I was way more skeptical about this thing. A lot of women have been coming out as bisexual lately (have you noticed this?), and then she comes out just in time for her movie? No, this is just like all the pop stars that are bisexual until they don’t need the attention anymore and then its “what? what are you talking about? men, only men with penises. did i say i was bi? i meant that i was going to cry. you misheard me.” It happens as like straight celebrity trends.
    Straight people, don’t do this. Its bad for the queers. I think you are part of why people say bisexual women are “confused.” Its because you guys keep changing your story all the time. Sometimes, straight celebrities, your stories confuse me too. (I’m looking at you, scary spice. You are all over the place)

  13. *smirk, lol totally did it with the laydeez in the past – I’m playing a women who has a life-changing affair with another woman, so I know what that’s about, youknowwhatimean. I mean, MAYBE, but you know smirk, smirk*

    Few days later. Hahah what? You guys have such filthy minds *rolleyes* Why does everything have to be sexualised when it comes to women (even when in the context of promoting a much needed film representing lesbianism). God sake. Women can be just friends too. Which is something I feel the need to emphasise due to the huge lack of films depicting non-sexual, platonic female friendships. Totally straight. God sake. Misogynists.

  14. So from my memory I was thinking the wording of the question was sort of intentionally misleading and her answer was ambiguous enough to make the meaning debatable, and I was all ready to defend CB, but reading it again and seeing:

    “When asked if this is her first turn as a lesbian, Blanchett curls her lips into a smile. ‘On film — or in real life?’ she asks coyly.”

    That’s such a disappointing thing to see a straight actress saying, especially to later find out that there was no truth to that at all (why even go there in the first place???). It just really sucks to see someone so high profile either a) intentionally throwing around queer identity as a ploy to drum up interest/to seem racy or exciting, or b) having seemingly no idea or understanding of how hurtful that could be to queer women to read.

    And there’s definite blame on the part of the interviewer for trying to turn an ambiguous answer to suit their own spin, but I’m still more disappointed that an opening for that was present in the first place.

    Jesus this whole thing just feels like something I would have been reading about ten years ago.

  15. Oh no that’s such bad news. I once saw this video where Cate hands Adele Exarchopoulos a trophy and says she has an “inappropriate crush” on her and then when I read about this Variety interview I thought that she actually meant that.

  16. I didn’t realize the person who interviewed her was Ramin Setoodeh. You remember him. The guy who doesn’t think gay actors can play straight characters convincingly. Yeah, that self-loathing bastard of a reporter who has never written anything decent in his life.

    Fucking hilarious. I was skeptical from jump. So glad I didn’t celebrate over nothing like I used to in the past. It is so very hard for me to trust anything that comes out of celebrities mouths these days. Especially when it comes to talk of sexuality because it’s usually only done for publicity’s sake more than anything else. She clarified that statement mad quick though. A lesser actress probably would have ridden that buzz for a long ass time but Cate Blancett is far too old and accomplished to play the kind of celebrity attention games that a lot of these younger women engage in for the benefit of a headline. And also Ramin Setoodeh has always been a lying sack of shit so people were WAY too quick to take anything he says as truth. How did he even get that interview? Why does he still have a job after all the things he has said and done in his career?

  17. And in a week we’ll learn she actually didn’t have any relationship in any way with anyone. Which actually wouldn’t surprise me at all. She’s pretty though.

  18. If anyone’s mad at Blanchett for being misleading, don’t forget the dirtbag interviewer is the one describing the exchange. He’s the one deciding her lip curled into a smile, and that she was being “coy” (instead of the more probable “annoyed” that he so clearly wanted to make her performance into something personal, not professional).

    Imagine a man getting the same question and description. No, he’d get, “Wow, you’re so brave for playing gay. You should get an Oscar.” Women never get congratulated for playing queer roles–they only get invasive questions about their personal lives and no accolades for their creative ability.

    • Your first paragraph is so on point – that didn’t even occur to me (though I wasn’t thinking too hard about it I guess). Even if the words weren’t misquoted, they read very differently if you imagine Blanchett responding in a matter-of-fact tone of voice, or an irritated one.

      • I disagree. There was no indication that the reporter was asking about her personal life. She is the one who turned it into the question. And her denial doesn’t say that he misunderstood. She was manipulative. Who in their right mind would have thought that by asking if she had played lesbian roles she thought that he meant, “have you had any non-sexual relationships with women?” Hell, my relationships with almost everyone in my life are non-sexual, that doesn’t make me pansexual. And if someone said, “is this your first time playing a heterosexual” I wouldn’t be like “no, I have many relationships with men” and then be like- “no wait, friendships. I meant friendships.” There is no indication that he was asking about her personal life at all until she brought it up. I think Cate would have to be a total idiot to not have done this on purpose.
        And as for “you’re so brave for playing someone gay,”- how do you know that isn’t what he would have said if she didn’t take the opportunity to fake come-out as bi? Although more to the point, I don’t think that is something he should have said. I don’t think its someone that anyone should ever say and the problem with that statement is that anyone would be called “brave” for playing an lgbtq role ever; not that kind of insulting statement would be applied asymmetrically. Honestly, its not like playing an alien. We’re not *that* different. It doesn’t require special skills to act like a gay or bisexual person.

  19. “Goodbye, sweet dreams of Lúthien and Galadriel locked in a sweaty tangle in Rivendell. (LOL, JK. I’m still going to dream that.) (And read the fan fiction.)”

    It would go a long way towards soothing my heart if anyone shared links to good fics they’ve found!

    <3

  20. A lot of people are getting down on Cate for this one, but I have a feeling she’s more the victim of the person who interviewed her. I mean, is fact-checking even a thing anymore? One little misquote and the name of your magazine will be plastered across The Internet for the next week and a half, so it’s job well done. Good reminder to take everything we read with more than a single grain of salt…(get it? SALT?) Lol sorry terrible pun.

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