RAC Website closing June 20th, downloads available until then, May 26, 2023 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1522) 

•May 27, 2023 • Leave a Comment

Something About Love (A)

Another “end of an era” with the news that the wonderful RAC Richard Armitage Central database website will close June 20th, 2023.  The RAC resources will be much missed!


Yet it is wonderful of the RAC Admins to let Richard Armitage fans know well in advance so we can visit RAC and download any resources they have—until June 20th.

Thanks to Teresa Armitage for sharing this news!

Wishing everyone a safe, healthy, & peaceful day! Love, Hugs, & Cheers!  Grati ;->

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How much – how little – is within our power

•May 11, 2023 • 2 Comments

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicide or mental health questions, please call 988 (in the US).

Heather Armstrong has died. The final revival of her blog had been disturbing to read. In its earlier years, her writing had a huge influence on me. I pray for her friends and family, especially her daughters, that they may find peace. May all who are mourning be comforted.

James Sullivan sends his best

•April 22, 2023 • 4 Comments

At one point this would have interested me [no spoilers, please]

•April 13, 2023 • 34 Comments

This was an interesting alert. (Leaving my language vague in case you are avoiding spoilers.) It’s weird b/c I remember when Michael Fassbender did it. Does it have the shock value now? Or is it just par for the course?

me + richard armitage’s sexual orientation + the new openness

•April 12, 2023 • 75 Comments

[First, if you do not wish to read discussion about Richard Armitage’s sexual orientation, please don’t read this post. The times when I would have passworded this post or apologize for making it it are over. Second, this is not a “you’re doing it wrong” post — it’s a reflection on my own reaction to how Armitage has done it. The post is split into two parts — a historical review, and a response to the article in Radio Times.]



Because I was keeping a diary back then, I know the exact time in January 2010 at which it first occurred to me that Richard Armitage might not be straight. It was just a weird intuitive flash. About two weeks after Armitagemania onset, I was listening to a radio interview when the host asked Armitage if he ever got teased about having an enthusiastic female fandom, and he said something along the lines of “my mum finds it particularly funny.” I said “huh” to myself. I thought, “He’s out to his mother and she finds the situation ironic.” It was just a flash. But I wrote it down.

It didn’t take me long to realize what an explosive topic this was within the fandom. The main fan sites that included discussion options at that point were Armitage Army, Richard Armitage Central, and C19, and the moderators did not allow personal discussion of any kind. (Several print articles at that point that had discussed a “girlfriend,” and I don’t remember how those forums dealt with them — maybe someone else does.) Pretty quickly, I ran across Natalie’s blog and she was one of the first to dare to take on the topic of “Richard’s private life” in a mainstream setting (this is a very old page at this point; it may or may not display in your current browser). It’s weird to think that back then, some fans found posts like that too risqué.

Before that, there had been plenty of rumors in different public discussion forums, and I remember talk of a gossip sheet (I’m purposely being vague here) but the only data point that was remotely “reputable” (which is potentially exaggerating the situation — here‘s a commentary on the quality of the site) was a reply to a question in Yahoo Answers about who Armitage had dated during CATS. It was a man’s name. And I knew people who did their own scouting. There was a way to read UK poll registers, for instance, to determine who Armitage cohabitated with. Every now and then someone would show up on a blog, and claim to have known Armitage and a boyfriend, or assert that he was gay. But both the tidbits and the venues in which they typically appeared were so trashy that it was easy to discredit them. At some point someone even posted on datalounge that they had had sex with him — but no one believed it. Between his frequent lack of interest in appearing in public with anyone, male or female, who might be a plausible romantic partner, and the absence of posts that could even potentially be identified with him on blind gossip sites like CDAN, every applicable mote of unverifiable information more or less melted into thin air.


Back then, we weighed all of this apocrypha against the mildly more trustworthy “evidence” of his romantic life offered in the entertainment press. Given the level of heterosexual female ardor broadcast in Armitage’s direction, it wasn’t surprising that journalists asked him about his romantic life. He was unprepared for the storm that greeted him in 2004, but it seemed odd that his answers to questions seemed so regularly awkward, stilted, or unprepared, even in the year or so afterward. (Here‘s a reflection on that phase of his identity as seen through the media, written in 2012.) The press at that time still assumed a default heterosexuality and allowed Armitage to say fairly vague things about “a dancer” and “a girlfriend” who then moved out. It didn’t hurt that our largely female fandom largely preferred to believe he was straight, and was also delighted with the image of a modest, reserved, apparently ethical, quiet star. In other words: most of Armitage’s “Army” really appreciated what he called his “boring” qualities, which he referred to regularly in deflecting questions he didn’t want to answer.

In the Robin Hood years, an article was published in which he bared all — a long narrative about his past romantic history that highlighted a platonic romance in school, losing his virginity in a tent as he was leaving it, and confusion over  a drama school-era girlfriend, before musing on how difficult relationships are and so on. It was easily plausible that the drama school flame could have been Annabel Capper (so easy, in fact, that I might have been inadvertently responsible for a Spanish journalist printing in a later article about The Hobbit that they had been a pair. My piece was loong the most-read post on this blog and the first search result on Google, and I was the only fan blogger coherently following her career).



Finally, some more detailed info from the horse’s mouth — even if the discussion of the article was an early example of how Armitage fans regularly blame the journalist for whatever we’d rather not read in an interview. Poor Richard, talked into giving up all his secrets by a nosy journo. Poor man, couldn’t defend himself. He also left a message apologizing for the interview, in which he curiously misused the word “spendthrift.” At the same time, the piece had the paradoxical effect of actually angering some fans who felt that a gentleman never tells.  As the years wore on, I grew to think that Armitage’s recounting of his previous sexual history in that article was quite potentially another attempt at deflection — just a much better one than before. He spun a simultaneously intriguing and bothersome tale that drew the fans in, blamed it on the journalist, and achieved what he or his publicist wanted in the end: full-length coverage of a purportedly heterosexual history that allowed him to appear as if he’d been the one who’d been tricked into telling “the truth.”

The 2009-10 outings with Annabel Capper, whether intended to accomplish it or not, pulled him firmly back into appearing straight. By 2012, though, Armitage was living full time in the sausage fest of the Hobbit shoot, and the gay rumors were once again coursing, over a picture of Armitage and Lee Pace in each other’s company from New Zealand.  At that time I was still in the undecided camp. But I’d also started to get enough grief from fellow fans over writing heterosexual female fantasies about Armitage that I was starting to think that he really should be paying me. They were honest fantasies that I had (and still have from time to time), but as much as some fans tried to taunt me with remarks that Armitage would hate the things I wrote, I also wondered more and more in the face of the Richlee gossip whether  supporters of his career shouldn’t be happy that someone was publishing intense straight RPF about him.


Meanwhile, discussion raged behind the scenes in emails and chats — I remember a regular IRC chat room hosted by a fellow fan where people got together every night (although we also discussed other things). The thing that finally tipped me into the “he’s gay” camp was a blog post I wrote in 2013 about Richard Chamberlain. Some very ardent admirer of Chamberlain’s had put photos of a lot of his earlier press on the web, and it was easy to see that many of the same words and ideas used to describe Armitage had been used in the articles about my earlier Richard, sometimes word for word: “quiet,” “modest,” “workaholic / focused on work,” “too busy,” “lost in his thoughts,” “serious.” It was as if there were actual verbal press conventions for excusing a male actor’s failure to date or reproduce with women, and reading them about someone else forced me to read the press about Armitage — the best evidence for a heterosexual Richard — in a different light.

But in 2013 I had also been trying hard to write about the fantasy level of RichLee, and attracting a lot of fan anger for doing so. After 2014, due to Armitage’s association with Pace, there was starting to be more evidence if you knew where to look, and there seemed to a concerted effort on the part of persons unknown to out them, which I always assumed was because someone had a problem with Pace. (By this, I don’t mean shippers, but rather whoever was responsible for photos that regularly appeared when Armitage or Pace had some other big thing going on, including at dates after when they were presumably no longer involved.) Unless you knew me well at that time, you probably never got an actual statement out of me about what I thought of the factual level of the question. You had to infer. I verbally stood by the idea that heterosexuality is the default assumption. I stood up pretty well even to private pressure to say what I thought — until in 2017 I admitted to a fellow fan what I knew, and devastated her. After that I just stopped talking about it most of the time, except elliptically, in response to that borderline offensive Tanya Gold article (here, and here).

Response to the latest press

So here we are, after years of my relative silence on this topic (and a lot of things, I think: 2018-2021 were hard on me in ways that this blog clearly bears the traces of). But in the last few years, it seems, Armitage is ready to “come out” (I’m not sure what that means, since he insists he wasn’t closeted). He did it in 2020 and again in October and now again.

Let me stress again that Armitage doesn’t owe me anything and he leads his life and I lead mine. Chiding him for the past is not what this post is about. I get that he had professional considerations (and particularly in the Hollywood market). I even defended them at times. But at the same time, I really wish we could all be honest. His lack of honesty on the issue tied the fandom up in knots for more than a decade and the prudishness he expressed to us then but now apparently opposes was a big factor in that. It caused a lot of people a lot of grief. That was our choice — but he set the example.

Things about the narrative he’s been occupied in constructing for the last two years about how his sexual orientation was never that big of a deal just don’t wash. Reading this Radio Times article made me wonder if he’s actually forgotten Spooks; episode 8.4 made pretty clear that there something “definitely not 100% straight” going on there. The fanfic on DreamerFiction at that time posited all kinds of things from coercion to secret affairs and that was all spawned by Armitage’s performance in that episode. No fan will actually be surprised by that possibility — and we could take it further. Not everything about Guy’s relationship with the Sheriff was “100% straight” either. (Again, the fanfiction about this was wild and the fans didn’t construct that out of nothing; there was a weird power dynamic ongoing.) Pretty much every performance Armitage made in those days raised questions about gender trouble.

There’s also a strange conflict in the interviews on this topic between his awareness of “female gaze as marketing tool” and his dismissal of the possibility that he wouldn’t be cast because of knowledge of his sexual orientation. My jaw dropped when I read that, because if that was true, then why not just be honest about it? Why invent girlfriends? (Back in 2012, a big chunk of the fandom, although very few who would admit it, thought Charlie Condou was talking about Armitage here.) Why talk about what you would want in a woman if you’re not probably not ever going to want one?

This feels an awful lot like rewriting history — a history that I have witnessed much of. I think we can use Occam’s Razor to get to a much simpler answer here: he was taken by surprise in 2004; suddenly he was the object of the female gaze; he realized that it wasn’t in his interest to disrupt that; there were also issues around not wanting his parents to be impacted by gossip about his sexual orientation; the world has changed, especially in terms of younger audience members; and he’s now mostly out of the romantic lead casting category due to his age and greying hair.

And another possibility about this stuff occurred to me. I used to have conversations from time to time on the topic of his sexual orientation in which someone would say, “Well, maybe he’s bisexual.” To me this always felt a bit like an attempt to patch a wound in one’s own self-esteem. Bisexuality is quite rare and more common among women than men (or was, in his/my generation; maybe it’s changing now). There’s this whole piece of fandom that involves shame about whether the crush could ever be attracted to us, and if s/he can’t, that’s worse. So if there’s even a teeny possibility that he could be attracted to a woman without having to act, that’s better than nothing, at least from the perspective of some fans. But now with this hint toward “if I declare who I am and my sexuality, then I’m saying it’s fixed and I don’t know that, or if I might feel something for somebody further down the line,” and given the level of his past obfuscations, it also feels like he’s potentially leaving some crumbs for those of us who don’t feel attracted to non-hetero men. “I doubt I’ll be attracted to a woman … but I might …” as marketing tool.

I wish you all the joy of your new openness, Mr. Armitage, and happiness in what seems like a great relationship for you. I can truly and honestly say that I will continue to have poymorphously perverse sexual fantasies about you and your characters no matter what your real-life orientation is or who you are actually sleeping with. It doesn’t matter to me at all, and on some level I’m grateful that the fact that you’re not hiding any more means I don’t have to hide either. It’s a lot easier to blog if I feel I can be honest. But if you ask “why anyone should be defined by who they love” — well, it looked for an awful, awful long time that you thought they should or would be, yourself.

Goodbye to a fellow fan

•April 12, 2023 • Leave a Comment

A fellow fan has died. We had several really great conversations about Love, Love, Love. I hope that her family is comforted in their mourning.

Armitage basiationes

•April 10, 2023 • 12 Comments

The title is for lovers of the classics.

This is one section of the recent Daily Mail piece that I am stubbing my metaphorical analytic toe on:

[In response to the problem of being cast in straight roles if he’s not]

[Armitage] believes acting means always putting yourself in the skin of someone else.

‘Attraction is attraction and I know this is asked a lot more of straight actors playing gay characters – what’s it like to kiss a man? The answer is it’s just like kissing a woman,’ he says.

‘It’s the same feeling; a pair of lips. And because you’re kissing a stranger you’re trying to engage with them and create chemistry, but at the same time you’re holding them at a distance.’

He admits that distance isn’t always possible and says he ‘fell in love’ with Charlie platonically, but it was still sexually charged. ‘You can’t always be in charge of your body when someone touches it. You can’t switch it off. I find the mouth the most intimate area of the body – the closeness in the lips I had with Charlie was more revealing than anything else.’


1. I identify as heterosexual, and before menopause I experienced an occasionally troublinglu intense libido, especially during my twenties, although I am not precisely a Kinsey 0, either;

2. I am not and have never been an actor, so I won’t presume to say that how actors think about or describe doing their jobs in general or specific is wrong — this is specifically not a “you’re doing it wrong” post.

3. I obviously have no information on how Richard Armitage the person experiences sex beyond anything he says or is reported to have said;

4. I acknowledge the problematic status of the Daily Mail as the source for textual analysis here.

5. Finally, I am aware that this description of attraction is primarily intended as a justification for hiring non-heterosexual actors to play heterosexual roles.



In favor of what Armitage says here:

a. I have always thought he is a convincing kisser. Not every kiss I have seen him perform turned me on personally, but they were all fit for purpose, even if the question of how to position his nose occasionally popped up, and several of them were deliciously over-engineered. North & South / Margaret Hale is maybe the most widely memorable one, but I was also seriously affected by the one in The Crucible, as well as the first time Guy kisses Marian in Robin Hood. Lots of people who love Vicar of Dibley love that kiss. The list goes on. So if this is how he thinks about it, it obviously works for him.

b. I agree that it isn’t always possible to control one’s physical reactions to certain stimuli. It is not unusual for humans to experience arousal reactions that are involuntary and uncomfortable or unwelcome, and these may be more frequent male physiology. The manifestations of physical arousal are not always equivalent to actual sexual arousal (although I don’t want to equate that with the emotions, either).

c. I also agree that the mouth, along with using it to kiss, is potentially more intimate under certain circumstances than other body parts involved in sexual encounters (so does Psychology Today, interestingly). There’s a urban legend that prostitutes don’t kiss, and although I have no way of knowing if that’s true, I personally was usually less interested in kissing during casual sex than during encounters with romantic partners.

Even so:

I don’t believe that kissing a man is just like kissing a woman.

I’d also be skeptical that Armitage believes it. The sensation of lips touching may be the same, but it’s hard to believe that anything else is. If it were true, then sexual orientation would not be the huge matter it is, or at least not in the same way. In short, it seems to me like the experience of kissing is not limited to “the same feeling; a pair of lips.” The reason people find it intimate is the whole edifice of things that come with kissing — not just the question of (say) odors and flavors, but the emotional and cultural and personal baggage attached to it. And if it were just a physical sensation, it’s hard to see how actors would either need or want intimacy coordinators, a melody he was marching to rather emphatically last week (not that I disagree).

Also, I’d really like to know what it means to say that you were platonically in love with someone, but it was sexually charged.

The best construction I can put on all of this is that he wanted to be honest.

One meaning I could infer here is ‘I acted sex scenes with Charlie and was both emotionally involved and physically aroused, and potentially also sexually aroused but not necessarily by choice’ but is that what he meant? and if so, isn’t that a situation that the intimacy coordinator is supposed to help moderate?

Or maybe he meant, “It’s difficult for me to get that involved in what I experience as the very intimate act of kissing without also displaying the physical manifestations of sexual arousal, but there was still a piece missing”?

All this makes sense to me: at least, for me, strong sexual attraction in the clinch has three elements —

  • an emotional level that I am aware of (not always love, but emotional attraction, we could call it);
  • positive physical sensation / concrete manifestation of physical arousal — in the language of this interview, “what happens when someone touches you”;
  • and a component of something like the potential for arousal going on my brain that is not emotional, but potentially chemical — and I feel like that is the part that relates to orientation or whatever you want to call the label for “the collection of experiences or fantasies that turn you on.”

It’s certainly possible to engage in sexual activity with some or none of those things present. Moreover, I’m sure that the context of also having to do all this in front of the camera, so thinking about how you appear while you experience some or all of the elements of this experience, complicates it exponentially.

I get that if you’re trying to make a strong argument for gay actors playing straight romantic leads, it makes sense to try to simplify your answer as much as possible. On the other hand, there’s a big risk of making yourself look immature, which is what I thought when I read it the first time.

Happy (Latin) Easter

•April 9, 2023 • 6 Comments

From the much missed birdswitharmsitage.

Writing your own IP is a good way to get cast

•April 8, 2023 • 12 Comments

Armitage says he will star in a series based on Geneva.

I still haven’t read or listened to it, but what I’ve heard from fans suggests that the character is mildly awful. Another wish of his, fulfilled, I guess. On the other hand, this character is supposed to have had a lot of him in it?

The project is not on the White Boar Films page (yet).

Chag sameach

•April 6, 2023 • 6 Comments

Gut yontiff, chag pesach sameach, a kosher pesach, a freylekhen pesach, a zissen pesach!

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