Most sources claim 18 November 1939 to be her birth date, including GEMA, but Lear has variously given her date of birth as 1946, 19.During a 2010 interview with a French newspaper Libération, Lear presented her identity card to a journalist, which read: "born 18 November 1950 in Saigon".
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Around that time she met the Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dalí and would remain his closest friend and muse for the next 15 years.
Lear first came into the public eye as the cover model for Roxy Music's album For Your Pleasure in 1973.
However, an excerpt from an article from an Italian newspaper surfaced online in November 2011, including a reproduction of a copy of Lear's birth certificate, which states that she was born Alain Maurice Louis René Tap on 18 June 1939 in Saigon, and a picture of Lear before her transition.