UK Model/Music Artist
|Samantha Fox has now come out as a lesbian and is currently in a relationship with Myra Stratton. Before that, she had a four-and-a-half year relationship with Australian musician Cris Bonacci.|
Samantha Fox must be one of the most unlikely celebrity persons who has ever come out. For me and I guess for most people, she's been this typical heterosexual model/singer. I've followed her career for a long time and I've always loved to speculate about female celebrities' sexual preference, but never once did I think she was anything else than 100% heterosexual.
It's pretty funny that a girl who has been a fantasy figure for a whole generation of guys, including myself during a period, actually is a lesbian.
I presume there are many guys who aren't as glad as I am about having ones poor teenage fantasies crushed..:)
Rumors regarding Samantha's sexual preference began to pop up in 1999 when she judged a lesbian beauty pageant and many people said they believed that the woman she lived with at the time, Cris Bonacci, was more than just her manager.
In newspaper articles, "friends" of Samantha gave fuel to the rumors by saying things like: "I do remember thinking quite clearly that she was totally anti-men in every way - emotionally, psychologically and sexually - and it wasn't just the fact that she had been wounded by her business dealings. She just had an innate mistrust of men. But with girls, Sam is very open, very girly, very giggly. She just enjoys all that small-time girl chat. I have never seen her in a social situation 'put out' to men. She does not hold her body or use her eyes in a 'come on' way."
Samantha herself said: "I'm definately older and wiser. For years, I'd been dictated to by two male-dominated worlds, modelling and music. No man in business - or in pleasure - will ever tell me what to wear or do again. I've become a woman in my own right, not some polished product produced by men."
In a 1999 interview for "The Heat" she was asked about the rumors that she is gay.
".....just because I've judged a lesbian beauty pageant doesn't mean I'm gay...Whatever I am is private....."
But in February 2003, she finally revealed the truth: "I'm gay."
"I was one of England's biggest sexsymbols. When they asked men who they would most like to sleep with, my name always came up. I couldn't say I was sleeping with women."
But now she said in the interview for "The Mail on Sunday": "I can't continue denying it. Everyone knows I'm in love with Myra and want to spend the rest of my life with her" (source: Aftonbladet Feb 3rd, 2003)
Also in February 2003, Samantha gave an interview to Harriet Lane of "The Observer" where she rather openly talked about finally coming out to the public as a lesbian and having been betrayed by so many people, including her own father:
The Observer, Feb 3rd, 2003: (excerpt from article)
"Maybe when I was younger I thought I was bisexual, but then I think I was just confused"
She's been ripped off by her father, exploited by Peter Foster, forced to confront her sexuality, but Sam Fox, the subject of a forthcoming Channel 4 documentary, is anything but downcast.
Boobs, champagne, car-dealership openings, swimwear catalogues, her own winebar and clothes business, a brief stint as Europop princess, a string of no-good boyfriends, and then the realisation that her father, who had managed her from the off, had been fleecing her for all she was worth, which turned out to be not very much at all; events recollected for Our Sam, a forthcoming Channel 4 documentary.
So what does Sam Fox do now? She's working on her autobiography and her website. She's writing and recording another album. And she lives in Chingford with her girlfriend, Myra.
Sam first met Myra Stratton, a divorcée in her forties who used to manage a pop act no one now remembers, four years ago when she was wondering what to do with her career. These days, Sam doesn't really trust people very readily, so when she found herself telling Myra everything, she realised something was afoot.
Myra looks after Sam's financial affairs and bookings, and though there are mutterings in some quarters about her being just another opportunistic manipulator, there are others who believe that she really does have her client's best interests at heart.
When Sam and Myra are at home in Chingford, Sam does the housewife bit. "Yeah! Making stews and things! Sunday roast dinners! I am very domesticated. I find I really enjoy it. The simple things in life make me very happy."
It is a big deal for Sam Fox to come out. After all, her career, from the moment she was legal, has been founded on indulging male fantasies (fantasies that nowadays, in the context of freely available internet images, seem curiously innocent, almost prim).
Even if you never read the Sun, there was no escaping her peculiarly chipper celebrity and, even if you hated Page Three and all it stood for, you might have been surprised by a sneaky affection for its most prominent envoy, whose personality was every bit as buoyant as her bosom.
Sam projected an uncomplicated sense of accessibility: an illusion, for sure, especially in the light of what we know now, but an illusion so persuasive that a number of her most loyal fans have never married, confident that one day she will trot down the aisle towards them, though everyone else thought she'd end up living splendidly in Cheshire or Berkshire with a footballer or a property developer and a batch of nippers. But that wasn't quite what Sam had in mind.
At 14, she was madly in love with Lindsey Wagner, the Bionic Woman, but it wasn't until she was 26 that she finally accepted that she was gay. It has taken another decade and two long-term relationships with women to work up the nerve to put this on the record.
"I was quite confused, really," she says cheerily. "Imagine being a sex symbol and you have these feelings! I kept thinking I was always going to meet the right man, but I never did. Kept waiting for this knight in shining armour. 'When's he coming? He's taking a long time, isn't he?'"
In the past, "friends" have hinted to the press that she was bisexual, but: "I wouldn't say I'm bi because I'm in a gay relationship and I love her and I want to be with her forever. So to say I'm bisexual... it's too shallow. Maybe when I was younger I thought I was bisexual, but then I think I was just confused."
One can only imagine the effect the news will have on those men who saved themselves for her (though it seems a fair bet that some will find it provides a rich new seam of fantasy), but Sam says she isn't that bothered any more.
For ages, the thought of upsetting her most dogged fans got in the way of clearing the air: 'I was worried - course I was. Really worried. I did think I might get a nutty fan after me. They call me their princess and that... I've had stalkers in the past. So you do think, oh God, I don't want to upset anyone, I think I'll keep it quiet. But then you get brave, don't you?'
Sam's a survivor. "I think that's why I've got such a big gay market. Gay guys love women who are tough, who are survivors. They always call me a diva. And I am a survivor; I've pulled through everything and I've not become bitter about it."
It's no small achievement, really, when you consider how many people have betrayed her.
Her parents Pat and Carole Fox split up in 1988, and three years later Sam sacked her dad. It turned out Pat was salting money away in offshore bank accounts, and had neglected to pay a penny of income tax on his daughter's behalf for 10 years. There was an out-of-court settlement, but no reconciliation. Sam only saw him once again before he died in 2000, by which time he had remarried and had two more children.
"My dad was a very stubborn man. He wouldn't ever wave the olive branch. When I did see him again, he hadn't changed, which was kind of good; it put my mind at rest. I kept thinking, during those six years when we didn't speak, that maybe he was dying to speak to me, or maybe he wanted to say sorry.
When I went to see him again, he told me he was writing a book about how he made me, and someone was buying the film rights. I just sat there, thinking, 'He wants to see me because he wants a happy ending for his book". That was the only reason he wanted to see me.'"
There was another parental figure as well. Peter Foster, the Australian conman who triggered Cheriegate, was Sam's first serious boyfriend. He whisked her away for weekends in Torquay and bought her a tiny pony called Samantha, which he hid in the kitchen for a Valentine's Day surprise. In return, but in good faith, she enthusiastically promoted his Chinese diet teas which turned out to be a scam.
She finally gave him the boot when he faked a nursery in his house and told the tabloids they were expecting a baby; this was in order to publicise yet another dodgy business venture.
Not long ago, he emailed Sam suggesting they make a movie about their lives. Sam's lawyer told him to get lost. "Do you see, they won't let him into Ireland now? Good! Go away. He's like a bad smell."
Anyway, Sam had this run of bad luck with bad men, and she went looking for answers, even dabbling with the Alpha course at Holy Trinity Brompton in the mid-Nineties
She must have started visiting Holy Trinity Brompton at the time when she was coming to terms with being gay, so I ask how she coped with the evangelical hostility to homosexuality. Actually, she says, Holy Trinity's position struck her as so bananas that her confidence in her own beliefs, about her faith as well as her sexuality, grew stronger.
"I think we've come a long way since the Bible was written. No, Alpha never made me feel bad about my sexuality, because I believe in love: at the end of the day, I think all God wants for us is to be happy and love each other. But Alpha was good because it helped me find myself a bit. It has taken me a while."
"But I've got Myra and my mum. I'm stronger now. It's not a problem. It's a problem if you've got two heads," she adds, twinkling, "or if I've got a pimple on my nose at a photoshoot. Now that is a problem."