Rock Hudson’s Wife Recorded His Gay Confession

The Hollywood Reporter says the contents of secret files of private investigator Fred Otash have been shown to them and one of many revelations contained therein are tapes of Rock Hudson's wife Phyllis confronting him about his sexuality:

HudsonOn January 21, 1958, Rock Hudson's wife confronted him, demanding to know if he was gay and grilling the actor about a Rorschach test he had taken. "You told me you saw thousands of butterflies and also snakes," she said "[A therapist] told me in my analysis that butterflies mean femininity and snakes represent that male penls. I'm not condemning you, but it seems that as long as you recognize your problem, you would want to do something about it." She also complained about "your great speed with me, sexually. Are you that fast with boys?"

"Well, it's a physical conjunction [sic]," replied Rock, then 32. "Boys don't fit. So, this is why it lasts longer."

Added Phyllis: "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."

"I have never picked up any boys on the street," Rock insisted. "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."

There's also an image of another part of the transcribed conversation here.

Hudson was the first major celebrity to die from AIDS-related causes, in 1985.

THR has much more on Lana Turner, Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, and Bette Davis that was uncovered in the files.


  1. Ninong says

    I find it hard to believe that Phyllis didn’t know he was gay when she married him. She was his agent’s secretary and it was really an arranged married to cover up his sexuality after Confidential magazine threatened to publish an exposé.

    The story is that a deal was made to keep Confidential from publishing their article on Rock by giving them dirt on other lesser stars. Rock married Phyllis only because his agent told him he needed to hurry up and get married if he wanted to save his career. Sort of like what Larry Craig did when he was still just a Congressman from Idaho, who was involved in the same sort of scandal that entrapped Mark Foley.

  2. Adam says

    Rock was into both men and women. This is problematic for women as their mindset is based on competing against women – and not men – for the affections of men.

    Furthermore, a bisexual man represents a threat to her ability to control men as her privilege to withdraw sexual consent is not as effective against a bisexual male as it is against an exclusively heterosexual one. The exclusively heterosexual male is completely beholden to women.

    Interestingly, men are far more accepting of female bisexuality than women are of male bisexuality.

  3. says

    i highly recommend folks check out Boze Hadleigh’s book “Conversations With My Elders” – he interviews Hudson, Sal Mineo, Luschino Visconti, Fassbinder, George Cukor, and more gay men from the bygone film era – it’s enlightening and utterly heartbreaking.

    Hudson in particular makes for an interesting and sad interview subject. His internalized shame is palpable.

  4. Jack M says

    I’ve never heard that Rock was bisexual. My understanding is that he was 100% gay.

  5. db says

    I think she knew he was gay from the start. The fact that she recorded this is fishy too–in those days recording these things wasn’t as easy as it is today. It required some fairly major equipment. I think she recorded this so she could get more in the divorce settlement.

  6. candide001 says

    @kiwi I guess you didn’t know. Every word in Hadleigh’s books is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the.’

  7. anon says

    It’s certainly an interesting conversation. The recording was aided by the PI, who may have also coached Phyllis on what to say. I’m going to assume this was in preparation for a divorce and would be used to get the maximum settlement.

  8. Jeff says

    Not sure I would following The Hollywood Reporter’s hyping of this and call it a “confession.” Feels kind of complicit in homophobia to be circulating this in these terms.

  9. Howard says

    @ Adam. Being able to perform sexually with a woman does not make a gay man, bisexual. There is no evidence that Rock Hudson was anything other than a gay man trying very hard to hide his homosexuality.

    I remember being told by a friend in 1972 that Rock Hudson was gay and that he used to throw gay orgies at his home all the time. My friend Dave said that his ex topped Rock at one of these orgies. I accused my friend of “wishful thinking” because he wanted all handsome masculine men to be secretly gay (turns out a lot of them were!). Where ever you are Dave, you were right and I was wrong, please accept my apologies.

  10. Vin says

    Kiwi, just so you know the difference between Hudson’s career and yours:

    Hudson appeared in films and on TV. With his body, facial expressions and voice, he portrayed characters and told stories which entertained millions. His name appeared in the credits. That is what is known as being an actor.

    People who work as extras, production assistants, and who make uncredited appearances are called losers.

  11. anony6 says

    @ Adam

    And women are far more accepting of male bisexuality than straight men are of male bisexuality.

  12. says

    to Howard’s point, a great many gay men have sex with women before they come out. i sure as heck did. didn’t make me a bisexual teen, it made me a really really committed closeted gay man.

  13. arthur russell says

    Vin, are you able to explain to me the level of vitriolic venom that you have meted out to kiwi? It makes no sense to me.