Rock Hudson’s Gay Confession Secretly Recorded By His Wife

Rock Hudson Photoshot/Getty

Just like being a fly on the wall: In January 1958, the late film actor Rock Hudson was confronted by his wife Phyllis about his homosexuality and trysts with other men; Phyllis secretly recorded the frank conversation, and the transcript, from the files of private detective Fred Otash, have just been released and excerpted by The Hollywood Reporter.

During the fight, Phyllis first asks the Giant star about a recent Rorschach test he'd 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 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."

Phyllis, who divorced the screen idol that year after three years of marriage, also complained of Hudson's "great speed with me, sexually. Are you that fast with boys?"

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

Phyllis then angrily replied: "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."

The Magnificent Obsession star countered: "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 screen star's secret gay life was an open secret within Hollywood (his close friends included frequently costars Doris Day and Elizabeth Taylor), although he never publicly came out during his lifetime. He died at age 59 from AIDS-related complications in 1985 — which prompted a more public, posthumous discussion of his sexuality.

Otash, the man behind the explosive recording, spied (for a big payday) on a huge list of boldfaced names during his day, including Marilyn Monroe and lover John F. Kennedy, Judy Garland, Liberace, Bette Davis and many others.

"I'll work for anybody but communists. I'll do anything short of murder," he once said.

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