Rock Hudson’s Wife Reportedly Recorded Secret Gay Confession

A Farewell to Arms Rock Hudson, 1957
20th Century Fox Film Corp./Everett Collection

Now fans know that celebrated actor Rock Hudson was gay and hid it for most of his life and career. It wasn’t easy for those in the LGBTQ+ community back in the ’50s and many stars like Hudson felt they had to hide their true selves in order to remain beloved by the public. Many of those close to Hudson knew that he was gay but Universal Studios kept his sexuality a secret. However, his secret was threatened to be revealed when he was going through a divorce with Phyllis Gates.

Author Josh Young, who has worked on a book about private detective Fred Otash, who reportedly had Hudson’s recordings, said, “During the marriage, she kept quiet. But it obviously affected her life. And in the end, when it was clear that he was going to leave her with nothing, I think that’s when she felt she needed to do something.” He added, “Fred Otash fought to get Phyllis Gates what she deserved in their divorce settlement when Rock was kicking her to the curb and refusing to support her. It was surprising to learn what an advocate he was for women and how interesting those cases were.”

(Original Caption) Actor Rock Hudson, 29. and his bride, Phyllis Gates, 26, smile happily as they prepare to cut their wedding cake at the Biltmore Hotel here following an elopement November 9th from Hollywood Miss Gates is secretary to Hudson's agent. hudson used his legal name, Roy Fitzgerald, for the ceremony. it is first marriage for each.

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Gates was the one to file for divorce when she was tired of Hudson being so distant and was later told that their marriage was just a “fanciful farce” to cover up his sexuality and give the tabloids something else to talk about. Hudson agreed to the divorce but did not want to continue to support Gates. Her attorney Arthur Crowley reached out to Otash to see if he could find any evidence of Hudson’s homosexuality to try to get Hudson to agree to financially support Gates.

Actor Rock Hudson and his wife Phyllis Gates pose at home in Los Angeles,California

Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Young continued, “She was put in the position of not being able to fend for herself. It was the case for a lot of women in those days who were dealing with powerful people in various circumstances. That wouldn’t happen today, but it did happen in the 1950s.” Otash was able to secretly record Hudson’s confession to Gates, who apparently admitted that he had a gay affair the day after their wedding.

Gates later said before her death, “I had the power to destroy Rock and I didn’t use it. To have exposed his other life would have been vicious and vindictive. I faced enough trouble rebuilding my life without bearing that guilt.” However, she was able to get a better settlement after receiving his confession. Neither remarried.

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Classic Hollywood Hunks

September 2019

Cary Grant, Sean Connery, Rock Hudson and Paul Newman, smoldered onscreen and, in addition to being smokin’ hot, they were effortlessly cool.

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