It will be 30 years in October since Rock Hudson, one of the biggest movie stars of his time, died of AIDS. People sat down with Lee Garlington, who dated the actor in the ‘60s, to learn what it was like being in a relationship with a closeted celebrity during that time.
“He was the biggest movie star in the world and the rumors were that he was gay,” Garlington, 77, told People. “So I thought, ‘Let me get an eye on him.’ I stood outside his cottage on the Universal lot, pretending to read Variety, which was probably upside down at the time. He walked down the street. He looked back once. That was it.”
Garlington recalls staying over at Hudson’s house and sneaking out the morning, and even going to movie premieres together, though they both brought women as dates.
“Nobody in their right mind came out,” Garlington says. “It was career suicide. We all pretended to be straight. Once we met Paul Newman and his wife [Joanne Woodward] at a premiere. He looked at me and smiled. I just read in his face – that maybe he knew Rock and I were together. We kind of laughed about it.”
Read the full story, including how Garlington reacted when he read that Rock Hudson called him his “true love” here.