The true love of a cinema icon is opening up about their secret relationship.
During the '50s and '60s, actor Rock Hudson was one of Hollywood's top leading men, but some of his greatest acting was done for the public eye. Thirty years after he died of AIDs-related complications, Lee Garlington, a boyfriend of the closeted actor, told People Magazine how the two kept their relationship a secret.
The now 77-year-old said they only appeared at premieres together if they had a female date.
"Nobody in their right mind came out," Garlington said. "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."
Rock Hudson's 'true love' opens up about secret relationship
Actor Rock Hudson (1925 - 1985) at the Finlandia Baths, Hollywood California, 1950. (Photo by KM Archive/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 2,1957: Actor Rock Hudson and his wife Phyllis Gates attend the Screen Directors Dinner in Los Angeles,California.(Photo by Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
American actor Rock Hudson (1925 - 1985) made up to look middle-aged in a publicity still for 'Magnificent Obsession', directed by Douglas Sirk, 1954. (Photo by Ray Jones/John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)
Childhood portrait of actor Rock Hudson, circa 1935. (Photo by Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
Elizabeth Taylor with Rock Hudson (L) on the film set of 'Giant', directed by George Stevens in 1956. (Photo by API/GAMMA/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Youthful portrait of actor Rock Hudson, 1941. (Photo by Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
Ireland, 1954, A portrait of American actor Rock Hudson on the set of the film 'Captain Lightfoot' (Photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images)
Ireland, 1954, American actor Rock Hudson is pictured taking a bath while on location filming the movie 'Captain Lightfoot' (Photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images)
1952, A picture of US film star Rock Hudson scratching his head (Photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images)
Jeff Chandler and Rock Hudson are simulating punches in a scene from the film 'Iron Man', 1951. (Photo by Universal Pictures/Getty Images)
American actor Rock Hudson (1925 - 1985), circa 1954. (Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images)
1956: American film star Rock Hudson (1925 - 1985). (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
American actor Rock Hudson (1925 - 1985), circa 1955. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES,CA - JANUARY 22,1954: Actress Mamie Van Doren poses with trophies and Rock Hudson during the International Press Club Awards in Los Angeles,CA. (Photo by Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Lauren Bacall holding onto Rock Hudson in publicity portrait for the film 'Written On The Wind', 1956. (Photo by Universal-International/Getty Images)
Rock Hudson, circa 1957. (Photo by Getty Images)
1959: Popular acting team Rock Hudson and Doris Day in a scene from the Universal-International comedy 'Pillow Talk'. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
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The two met in 1962 but kept their relationship a secret. Garlington says he would leave Hudson's home early in the morning hours and turn the engine off when driving past neighbor's homes.
Hudson and Garlington split up in 1965, and by the time Hudson died in 1985 at the age of 59, the two had lost contact. It wasn't until Garlington read Hudson's posthumously published autobiography that he understood how much the late actor cared for him. In it, Hudson described Garlington as his "true love."
"I broke down and cried," Garlington told People. "I just lost it. He said his mother and I were the only people he ever loved. I had no idea I meant that much to him."