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I'm sorry, Oprah, but these lesbian rumours are all part of the fame game

I've just booked a weekend away in the new year with a great pal of mine. We've gone away before and like any really good friend you just pick up where you left off.

We talk, chat, laugh, swap stories and generally know how each other thinks.

We've shared wine (lots), late nights (plenty) and solved the world's problems (many times). We've shared car trips, hotel rooms, and even once, due to a cramped living arrangement, a bed. Nobody, not once, has ever asked me, or her if there was well, more to it than "just good friends". We'd fall around the place at the suggestion, howling with laughter, as I imagine, would our husbands.

Unlike Oprah, who cried on television when she was asked the same question -- one which has dogged her many times during her life, despite her having a steady male partner for decades.

Her close relationship with best friend Gayle King has been the matter of much speculation, as is naturally, anything to do with anyone who acquires single-name fame. Why anyone should wish to speculate, or, indeed, care about the pair of them beyond that, is bewildering, but then again, so is the obsession we seem to have with the sexuality of famous people.


And so it was again this week when interviewer turned interviewee, and Oprah allowed (why, goodness only knows) herself to be asked, yet again, whether she was gay.

By the top-notch Barbara Walters, no less. "I'm not a lesbian. I'm not even kind of a lesbian," she said.

"And the reason why it irritates me is because it means that somebody must think I'm lying. That's number one. Number two: why would you want to hide it? That is not the way I run my life."

There's plenty of reasons to believe Oprah -- not least of which being she never had a life experience she didn't want to share with a hundred million people, but still, the rumours persist. They probably always will, because there will probably always be people who are prissy, prurient and pompous about such things and insist on knowing the 'truth', which generally means whatever they believe the truth to be about things that are really none of their business.

You might have thought these days we would have grown up about such matters. But as Oprah is continuing to find out -- things are different and people are far less tolerant when you're famous.