The prospect of Susan Sarandon playing Hollywood legend Bette Davis in the new FX series, “Feud: Bette and Joan,” is already generating white-hot excitement among gay audiences. And it’s easy to see why: Sarandon, 70, is a longtime advocate for LGBTQ rights, while Davis, who died in 1989, has been an enduring gay icon.
Speaking to PrideSource in advance of the show’s March 5 debut, Sarandon was more coy about her own love life. The Academy Award winner, who split from her longtime partner, Tim Robbins, in 2009, simply said she’s very “open.”
“I’m a serial monogamist, so I haven’t really had a large dating career,” she said. “I haven’t exactly been in the midst of a lot of offers of any kind. I’m still not! I don’t know what’s going on!” Noting that it “just was much more open” in the 1960s, she added, “My sexual orientation is up for grabs, I guess you could say.”
As it turns out, her love life has included queer people, too. The actress recalled her “very successful and very loving and wonderful” relationship with actor Philip Sayer, who she said never dated another woman after their split, in the interview. “He was a wonderful actor. He passed away, but yes, he was gay,” she said, “and we had a great relationship in every way.” (Sayer died in 1989.)
Many of Sarandon’s LGBTQ fans were quick to express disappointment in the star last November, following her very public decision to vote for third-party candidate Jill Stein in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. In the wake of President Donald Trump’s victory, Sarandon said those who’ve blamed her for Hillary Clinton’s loss are simply “not [being] productive.”
“The important thing right now is that we stop harping on blame because blame, if you really want me to talk about this election ― you know, I was not the person who brought Trump into power,” she said. “Now that everybody is awake, we have to take that and that fear, and we have to not indulge our depression ― not indulge on pointing fingers ― and get out there and work with some of the people who are going to be betrayed by Trump who voted for him and use that as a force for real change, because now it can happen.”
For the latest in LGBTQ culture, don’t miss the Queer Voices newsletter.