Jodie Foster has spoken publicly for the first time about her lesbian partner after a reported 15-year relationship.

The 45-year-old actress had long refused to discuss her private life or rumours about her sexuality, although her relationship with film producer Cydney Bernard had long been knowledge in Hollywood.

According to reports, Foster thanked her "beautiful Cydney who sticks with me through all the rotten and the bliss" in a speech at the Hollywood Reporter's Women in Entertainment breakfast.

She added: "I feel fragile, unsure, struggling to figure it all out, trying to get there even though I'm not sure where there is."

Having reportedly met on the set of 'Sommersby' in 1992, Foster and 54-year-old Bernard are raising Foster's two children together, nine-year-old Charles and six-year-old Kit.

Fiercely private, Foster has never discussed the father of her children and has always resisted pressure from gay rights groups to talk about the romance with Bernard.