Greg Louganis on Jodie Foster, celebrity ‘outings’ and his Palm Springs visit

Greg Louganis

Two days after actress Jodie Foster declared on “The Golden Globes” awards show that she isn’t reality TV sensation Honey Boo Boo and that she came out of the closet years ago, fans and curious onlookers are still debating whether Foster’s acceptance speech was a moving confirmation that she’s a lesbian or a confusing lament on the loss of privacy in Hollywood.

I was reading an interesting article about it just before my interview with Olympic diving legend Greg Louganis today, so I asked him what he thought about her speech. Louganis, who won gold medals for diving in the 1984 and 1988 Olympics, attended Globes activities during the weekend as one of several past and present Olympic stars. He clearly empathized with Foster. “It was very emotional for her,” he said.

Louganis — who revealed his sexual orientation in the mid-’90s in the public arena, including in the pages of his autobiography “Breaking the Surface” and as an Oprah show guest — also echoed Foster’s sentiment that it wasn’t as much of a secret as many thought.

“I was out to my family and friends for many years,” he said. “It was just my policy not to discuss my private life with members of the media. Even though a lot of members of the media knew, they were respectful. They talked around stuff.”

But Louganis said he has no regrets about coming out.

“It’s a process. Being a public figure, a lot of times it’s not entirely up to you. It’s up to you ultimately, but a lot of time you have a lot of influences — agents, managers, publicists.”

Today, a good deal of Louganis’ focus is on his work. He’s writing a third book, awaiting the spring release of his “Back on Board” documentary, and preparing to judge celebrity dives in an ABC-TV reality show set to air mid-March, among other things. On Feb. 9, Louganis will appear in Palm Springs at Desert AIDS Project’s Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards Gala (www.desertaidsproject.org) to present an award to actor Mario Lopez, who portrayed Louganis in the 1996 Showtime movie, “Breaking the Surface: The Greg Louganis Story.”

One of the things he’s looking forward to doing in Palm Springs is eating. “They have some pretty good restaurants there,” he said.

Read the full interview, including Louganis’ favorite memories of working with Mario Lopez on the film and what else he likes to do in the desert, in the next issue of Desert Outlook magazine (www.desertoutlook.com ), due out Feb. 7.