The actress Jodie Foster last night used her acceptance speech for the Cecil B DeMille lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes to address her sexuality for one of the first times in public.

Foster had referred to her former partner Cydney Bernard during an awards acceptance speech on 2007 when she paid tribute to “my beautiful Cydney who sticks with me through all the rotten and the bliss.” The couple had two sons together before separating in 2009. Last night’s award, one of the defining moments of her long acting career was a significantly more high profile occasion to talk about her sexuality.

Accepting the award she said: “So while I’m here being all confessional, I just have a sudden urge to say something that I’ve never really been able to air in public. A declaration that I’m a little nervous about, but maybe not quite as nervous as my publicist right now, huh, Jennifer? But I’m just gonna put it out there, loud and proud, right? So I’m gonna need your support on this…I am single. Yes, I am. I am single.” The audience erupted in laughter before she adds: “No, I’m kidding, but I’m not really kidding, but I’m kind of kidding. Thank you for the enthusiasm, can I get a wolf whistle or something?”

The sound on the television feeds cut at this point before Foster is heard saying: “…wanna 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 young girl would open up to trusted friends and family, coworkers, 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 honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance, and a prime-time reality show.”

The actress also used the acceptance speech to talk about the issue of privacy for people in the public eye. She said: “Seriously, if you had been a public figure from the time that 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 then you too would value privacy against all else. Privacy.

“Some day, in the future, people will look back and remember how beautiful it once was. I have given everything up there, from the time that I was 3 years old. That’s reality show enough, don’t you think?”

After thanking her family and friends, Foster thanked Mel Gibson saying: “Mel Gibson, you know you saved me too.” In 2010, Winona Ryder claimed that Gibson was a homophobe.