Rock Hudson’s Sort-Of Gay Confession Caught On Tape

Phyllis Gates confronted her husband, Rock Hudson, about his sexuality in 1958. This week, we find out it was all caught on tape.

1. American film star Rock Hudson never came out publicly, despite the incessant rumors about his sexuality.

Many co-stars claim to always have known Hudson was gay.

2. Hudson married Phyllis Gates in October of 1954, which helped quiet rumors for a short time.

3. But on January 21, 1958, Rock Hudson’s wife confronted him about his sexuality.

4. Little did he know, it was all caught on tape.

5. Gates had hired Fred Otash, a notorious Hollywood private eye, to follow Hudson and record conversations between the couple.

Otash was involved with controversies such as Marilyn Monroe’s murder and the Kennedy assassination.

6. This week, transcripts of the tape were shared with The Hollywood Reporter by Otash’s daughter.

The records and notes apparently filled 11 overflowing boxes that remained inside a storage unit in the San Fernando Valley for years. Most of the notes were transcribed on bits of “crinkly paper.”

Hulton Archive / Getty Images

7. Gates addresses Hudson on the tape about a Rorschach test he’d taken:


You told me you saw thousands of butterflies and also snakes. [A therapist] told me in my analysis that butterflies mean femininity and snakes represent that male penis. I’m not condemning you, but it seems that as long as you recognize your problem, you would want to do something about it.

8. The two went on to discuss their sex life:


Gates: Your great speed with me, sexually. Are you that fast with boys?

Hudson: Well, it’s a physical conjunction. Boys don’t fit. So, this is why it lasts longer.

Gates: Everyone knows that you were picking up boys off the street shortly after we were married and have continued to do so, thinking that being married would cover up for you.’

Hudson: I have never picked up any boys on the street. I have never picked up any boys in a bar, never. I have never picked up any boys, other than to give them a ride.

11. Notes from Otash’s records:

12. Hudson died in 1985, becoming the first major celebrity to die from an AIDS-related illness.

Gates filed for divorce in 1958, citing “mental cruelty.” Neither of them ever remarried.

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13. Author Sarah Davidson told the late Roger Ebert:

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