Famously closeted movie star Rock Hudson married Phyllis Gates in October 1954 – a move that no doubt quieted the gay rumors and helped his movie image.
But, it seems, Gates was not in on the deception and did not go into the the three-year marriage knowing Hudson was gay.
But she had her suspicions soon enough according to transcripts of a secret tape recording made between the couple by a private investigator whose secret records were recently discovered inside a storage unit in the San Fernando Valley.
In January 1958, Gates confronted her husband about the way he answered questions on a Rorschach test used to examine a person’s personality characteristics and emotional functioning, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Said Gates: ‘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.’
She also complained to Hudson about ‘your great speed with me, sexually’ and asked: ‘Are you that fast with boys?’
Hudson replied: ‘Boys don’t fit. So, this is why it lasts longer.’
Gates then said: 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 replied: ‘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.’
The dialogue between the couple was secretly being recorded by private eye Fred Otash who had been hired by Gates to follow Hudson. Transcripts of the tape and other items were share with The Hollywood Reporter by Otash’s daughter.
The couple was divorced later that year and neither ever married again. Hudson died from AIDS in 1985 while Gates died from lung cancer in 2006.