CANNES, France (Reuters) - An emotional Alain Delon received a prize for his six decade-long acting career on Sunday as the Cannes Film Festival shrugged off criticism prompted by his views on women and same-sex couples to give him an honorary Palme d\u2019Or. 72nd Cannes Film Festival -\u00a0Red Carpet Arrivals\u00a0- Cannes, France, May 19, 2019.\u00a0Alain Delon poses with his daughter Anouchka Delon before receiving his\u00a0honorary Palme d'Or\u00a0Award. REUTERS\/Stephane MaheDelon\u2019s heartthrob good looks and roles in major movies throughout the 1960s and 1970s made him an icon in France and he was received with a rapturous standing ovation by the crowd at a special ceremony at the festival on the French Riviera. The decision to honor the 83-year-old actor has been controversial particularly outside France, sparking an online petition in the United States which achieved more than 25,500 signatories. \u201cOne thing I\u2019m sure about is that if there\u2019s something I\u2019m proud of, really, the only thing, it\u2019s my career,\u201d Delon told the gala. \u201cAnd this Palme d\u2019Or was given to me for my career, for nothing else and that\u2019s why I\u2019m happy, and pleased, and satisfied.\u201d Delon, who received the prize from his daughter Anouchka Delon, has starred in films including Luchino Visconti\u2019s \u201cThe Leopard\u201d, which won the top prize at Cannes\u2019 cinema showcase in 1963. He has inflamed public opinion over the years, including by declaring his friendship for French far-right politician Jean-Marie Le Pen, and has admitted to slapping women. Earlier on Sunday, Delon stood by some of his views in an interview with France\u2019s Journal Du Dimanche (JDD) and said other comments attributed to him had been distorted, as he added that as an actor, he was irreproachable. \u201cI\u2019m not against gay marriage, I don\u2019t care: people should do as they please,\u201d he was quoted as saying. \u201cBut I\u2019m against adoption by two people of the same sex.\u201d \u201cI said I\u2019d slapped a woman? Yes. And I should have added that I\u2019ve received more slaps than I\u2019ve ever given. I\u2019ve never harassed a woman in my life. They, however, harassed me a lot.\u201d Delon said he was \u201cright-wing, full stop\u201d and was not a supporter of the far-right. GREAT STRIDES? In the wake of the \u201cMe Too\u201d movement to demand greater respect and representation for women, which erupted following a wave of sexual harassment scandals that rocked the movie industry, the prize for Delon sparked questions over its timing. \u201cThe festival has really tried to make great strides with their organization and ... this year they doubled the number of women in competition,\u201d said Rhonda Richford, a Hollywood Reporter journalist based in France. \u201cAnd so I think that doing that on one hand and turning around and giving this just shows an error in judgment.\u201d In the run-up to Cannes, Melissa Silverstein, the founder of women\u2019s advocate group Women and Hollywood, called out the festival for honoring \u201cthese abhorrent values\u201d with Delon\u2019s prize. Actress Eva Longoria told reporters at another red carpet party in the southern French city on Sunday that she \u201cunderstood how it could upset some people.\u201d But Cannes\u2019 festival organizers defended their choice, saying Delon was \u201cnot perfect\u201d but was being recognized for his acting career. Slideshow (3 Images)Some fellow actors have also come to Delon\u2019s defense. \u201cWhat Alain Delon says is his own business, whether we agree with him or not,\u201d said French actress Virginie Ledoyen, who is president of the jury handing out Cannes\u2019 \u201cQueer Palm\u201d award for LGBT-relevant films this year. \u201cHe\u2019s a magnificent actor who really shaped cinema.\u201d (This story removes extra word in headline.) Reporting by Sarah White and Johnny Cotton; Editing by Louise Heavens and Sandra MalerOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.