Gillian Anderson has chosen to open up about her lesbian affair because her former lover died from a brain tumour.

The former X-Files actress spoke of her relationship with a woman she knew in school, and she's now revealed she felt she owed it to her ex-partner after she passed away having turned down offers to sell her story.

She told the Mail on Sunday's Even magazine: "She had died of a brain tumour a year earlier and I had never really spoken about her. She was a beautiful person who was very meaningful in my life and I wanted to honour her instead of hiding my experience. There was a point years after we split when she phoned to tell me to say she had been offered a large amount of money to sell a photograph of us together and had chosen not to do it."

Gillian - who has had two husbands and a long-term relationship with Mark Griffiths, the father of her two sons - has now admitted she is grateful for her former lover for turning down the money.

She added: "It was a very big decision because she really could have used the money. I felt it was very important to take the onus off that type of relationship, to say this happened and I feel no shame about it."

Indeed Gillian is in the middle of promoting her autobiography, not that the timing of this story is at all related.