British director MICHAEL WINNER spent his "younger" years confronting questions about his sexuality - because he always ordered his lovers to tell their boyfriends he was gay.

The Death Wish movie-maker believed the tactic would avert suspicion and allow his relationships to blossom without the threat of his mistresses' jealous partners.

But he admits his method had a major downside - people truly started to believe he was homosexual.

He says, "When I was younger a lot of people used to say I was gay because, when I was having affairs with married people or women with boyfriends, I'd say, 'Just tell your boyfriend I'm gay.'

"When I started seeing (actress) Jenny Seagrove, a woman from (British newspaper) the DAILY MAIL said, 'We all know that Michael Winner is gay - you being with him is just a cover.' The poor girl nearly fainted!"

24/09/2004 02:36