After years of speculation, Jodie Foster has appeared to confirm that she is a lesbian at the Golden Globes.

The 50-year-old Hollywood actress left the audience of stars gathered at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles stunned by addressing her sexuality for the first time in a cryptic speech.

Accepting a life-time achievement award, she harked back to "the days when a fragile 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 every celebrity is expected to expose the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance and a reality show.

"I'm sorry, that's just not me and it never will be."

The now-single two-time best actress Oscar winner went on to acknowledge her former partner Cydney Bernard and their two sons, who were present at the annual event.

Foster described Bernard as "one of the deepest loves of my life, my heroic co-parent, my ex-partner in love but righteous soul sister in life.

"Thank you Cyd, I am so proud of our modern family, our amazing sons."

During her career, Foster, who made her acting debut aged three, has faced criticism from the gay rights advocates for not publicly discussing her sexuality.

In 2012, the notoriously private star indirectly defended her decision by insisting that she valued her privacy.

"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 you, too, might value privacy above all else," she said.