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This is distressing because it is simply not true.” In her speech, Foster also recognized Cydney Bernard, her former partner of 20 years, and their children together. Foster began her professional career at the age of three as a child model in 1965, and two years later moved to acting in television series, with the sitcom Mayberry R. Her other critically acclaimed roles as a teenager were in the musical Bugsy Malone (1976) and the thriller The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976), and she became a popular teen idol by starring in Disney's Freaky Friday (1976), Candleshoe (1977) and Foxes (1980).Foster later commented on the controversy saying that she hated "the idea that everybody thinks if a kid's going to be an actress it means that she has to play Shirley Temple or someone's little sister." She described Taxi Driver as a life-changing experience and stated that it was "the first time anyone asked me to create a character that wasn't myself.It was the first time I realized that acting wasn't this hobby you just sort of did, but that there was actually some craft." Taxi Driver was a critical and commercial success, and earned her a supporting actress Academy Award nomination, as well as two BAFTAs, a David di Donatello and a National Society of Film Critics award."I wasn't a science prodigy or a math prodigy ...Foster has said she loved acting as a child, and values her early work for the experience it gave her: "Some people get quick breaks and declare, 'I'll never do commercials! ' I want to tell them, 'Well, I'm real glad you've got a pretty face, because I worked for 20 years doing that stuff and I feel it's really invaluable; it really taught me a lot.'" Foster's mother was concerned that her daughter's career would end by the time she grew out of playing children, and decided that to ensure continued work and to gain greater recognition, Foster should also begin acting in films for adult audiences.
Cooper told Andrew Sullivan, “It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something – something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid.She gained positive notices for her performances in Adrian Lyne's debut feature film Foxes (1980), which focuses on the lives of Los Angeles teenagers, and Carny (1980), in which she played a waitress who runs away from her former life by joining a touring carnival.Aware that child stars are often unable to successfully continue their careers into adulthood, Foster became a full-time student at Yale in fall 1980, and her acting career slowed down in the following five years.She later stated that going to college was "a wonderful time of self-discovery", and changed her thoughts about acting, which she had previously thought was an unintelligent profession, but now realised that "what I really wanted to do was to act and there was nothing stupid about it." and during her college years appeared in O'Hara's Wife (1982), television film Svengali (1983), John Irving adaptation The Hotel New Hampshire (1984), French film The Blood of Others (1984), and period drama Mesmerized (1986), which she also co-produced.The film focuses on the aftermath of a gang rape and its survivor's fight for justice in the face of victim blaming.