Nor could the carefully applied makeup or spiky-heeled Yves St Laurent shoes. Eddie Izzard, 41, had even attempted to make his burly physique more womanly with the addition of fake breasts - 38C, since you ask. The breasts, incidentally, were borrowed from Uma Thurman's body double in The Avengers film in which he co-starred. The overall effect is disconcerting.
Pictured after a night out at the Groucho Club at the weekend, Izzard cuts an extraordinary figure, to say the least. The physique and walk are unmistakably male, but everything else - from the Calvin Klein sunglasses to the sheer tights - has been chosen because it screams "woman".
So who is this man strolling through London's Soho dressed expensively in women's clothes? And what is it that makes him want to dress as a woman? For the surprising truth is that Edward John Izzard is the heterosexual product of an extremely conventional upbringing.
Izzard is one of the most successful stand-up comedians Britain has produced. He is equally one of the most controversial and troubled. His fetish for cross-dressing has led many to claim he is homosexual. In fact, he insists he is straight. So what makes this most bizarre figure tick? He says he first wanted to wear a dress aged four, and started to crossdress in secret in his teens. In his early 20s, he began to dress as a woman in public. But for all his fondness for frocks and high heels, Eddie is a confirmed heterosexual.
They write him erotic literature - you would not believe it. I think people expect him to be one or the other, but he is a real man. I don't think you can understand it unless you are him. After his forthcoming world tour, it may well double. Prince William has "all his videos", according to Prince Charles. Such fame was not anticipated for the boy born in Yemen to a family which then moved to Northern Ireland and Wales, following his father's career with BP. Izzard's mother, Dorothy, a midwife, is remembered as an endlessly loving figure.
After her death from cancer in , he and his elder brother Mark were sent to a strict, old-fashioned boarding school. Eddie, who was dyslexic and deep in grief, found it cruel and frightening. The brain deals with it, but I don't think I'll ever get over it. Instead, he says her death made him a performer. I could never stop. It's a drug for me. He appeared at the Edinburgh Festival and in was nominated for the Perrier Award.
Since then, he has appeared in films and won two Emmys for Dress To Kill, a video of his stage show. Surprisingly, he has conquered the U. It is a punishing schedule, which has certainly made it difficult for him to have an enduring relationship. But then, as he admits, he is not beyond sabotaging relationships because losing his mother has left him terrified of experiencing loss. He says he was "frozen" until the age of When he began dating women, he didn't know how to cope.
I opened up and they ran off. I had to learn to calm down," he said. By the time he lost his virginity at 21, he was cross-dressing in private and struggling to define his sexuality.
When he was 23, he told a female friend whose brother was gay that he was a transvestite. She helped him to "come out" to his friends and to join a support group. You have to step over this huge mental barrier. I told him when I was I'd have been frustrated if I hadn't. But once I told my dad, I felt free to reveal it on stage.
Ever since, I've refused to apologise for being what I am. I have been proud of him and his brother for such a long time. He's my son and I think he is terrifically talented.
For one thing he remains unsure about the boundaries of his sexuality, and says his feelings about crossdressing fluctuate. It is still a bit confusing. I'd say if I was. But try as I might, I just can't fancy a man. Their relationship was, unsurprisingly, complicated.
They dated from until some time in , but were never pictured together and she was never named by Eddie. They were introduced by a friend in the late Eighties in Londonderry. They drifted apart because of his touring commitments but then reignited their romance, with Sarah Louise joining his tours abroad and accompanying him to TV recordings. They always kept separate flats in London, hers in Chelsea and his in West London.
Though the romance has fizzled out, they continue to run a company, Ella Communications, together, and she has worked on several of his videos. Without her, his sex life remains as confused as ever. Just like teenage girls or some women think: His aides admit he does talk about it and his father said yesterday that the topic has come up.
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