Celebrities Who Kept Their Lovers A Secret All The Way To The Grave

Celebrities live in the spotlight — that’s something that comes with the territory of being rich and famous. Things can get tricky, though, when it comes to their personal lives. After all, occurrences which would usually stay behind closed doors for an ordinary Joe instead tend to get splashed all over the front pages. Amazingly, though, over the years some celebs have managed to take intimate and scandalous stories of clandestine lovers to the grave: only after they’d died were their secrets exposed!

1. Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson

After pop icon Whitney Houston passed away, a former bodyguard came forward to allege she’d had a short affair with another iconic superstar: the King of Pop, Michael Jackson! What’s more, Matt Fiddes, who worked for Jackson, also claimed to be the biological father of Blanket, Jackson’s youngest child.

He told The Sun, “They met because they were two of the biggest recording artists on the planet and mixing in the same circles. They instantly connected as kindred spirits because they understood each other’s massive fame.”

This secret celebrity power couple supposedly wanted to marry

Fiddes continued, “Whitney practically moved into Michael’s ranch, and they had a fling like any other young couple. But Michael said later he had always hoped the relationship had gone further, and I know he dreamed of marrying her.”

According to Fiddes, there was a fly in the ointment, though: Houston had been intimate with Jackson’s older brother in the ‘80s! Fiddes claimed Jackson “was furious when he heard she had also slept with Jermaine, but this didn’t stop him holding a candle for her his whole life.”

2. Heath Ledger and Mary-Kate Olsen

Heath Ledger’s death in January 2008 shocked the world. A few short months later he would become immortalized thanks to his posthumously Oscar-winning performance in The Dark Knight. In 2007 he had been romantically linked with supermodel Gemma Ward, but after he’d passed away, a relationship with Mary-Kate Olsen was also revealed.

An anonymous source told People magazine they’d dated for three months, adding, “They were hooking up, but neither were particularly interested in making it exclusive. They had a bond that was based on partying.”

Drugs-supply claims

The authorities looked into Olsen as the source of the hydrocodone and oxycodone found in Ledger’s system at the time of his death. Allegedly, this possibility had been entertained because of the party-girl reputation she’d shared with the late star. And it was suspected the drugs had been procured using a phoney prescription or through other illegal means.

Olsen’s lawyers quickly put together a statement, though, categorically stating the former child star “had nothing whatsoever to do with the drugs found in Heath Ledger's home or his body, and she does not know where he obtained them.”

3. Dirk Bogarde

For nearly four decades, British acting giant Dirk Bogarde lived with his manager Anthony Forwood. After he died, though, it came out that Forwood wasn’t just his “manager” at all: he had been his long-term companion and lover.

Bogarde had kept his sexuality secret from the public for his whole life, but he had managed to work through some of these complicated issues in his art. You see, in 1961 he starred in Victim — a movie which saw him play a married man being blackmailed about his secret homosexuality.

He felt his career would be ruined

Bogarde was so frightened of revealing his sexuality that, even when the passion in his relationship with Forwood had been lost, he refused to look elsewhere for a lover. In his memoir, actor John Fraser claimed he’d once asked Bogarde, “Do you have casual affairs?” and he quickly answered, “God, no.”

The star continued, “How could I possibly in my position? Everyone knows me. I can't go anywhere without being recognised. There's blackmail; the News of the World. I would be ruined. Completely, utterly out of the question.

4. Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman

In 1987 a 71-year-old Gregory Peck was asked by People magazine about the many gorgeous leading ladies in his movies. He spoke warmly of them all, but when Ingrid Bergman — his co-star in 1945’s Spellbound — came up, he let something huge slip.

The screen idol said, “Now we get into an area where I can't answer. All I can say is I had a real love for her, and I think that’s where I ought to stop. Except to say she was like a lovely Swedish rose.”

Kept secret to spare Peck’s wife?

The To Kill a Mockingbird star continued, “I was young. She was young. We were involved for weeks in close and intense work.” In 2002 when his biography was published, it contained Peck confessing to falling in love with Bergman.

He admitted, “I don't think there’s any way to avoid it, for she was incredibly beautiful, and a very sweet person.” At the time, though, the affair was likely kept under wraps to save his wife Greta Kukkonen from public embarrassment.

5. Elizabeth Taylor and Colin Farrell

In 2009 the 77-year-old Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor was recovering in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after a heart operation. At the same time, 35-year-old Colin Farrell was at the hospital to welcome his son Henry into the world. A few days later, Farrell sent Taylor flowers, and she responded by sending him an orchid.

This began an unlikely friendship which lasted until 2011 when Taylor passed away; a rapport which included phone calls in the wee hours of the morning about her love of NCIS star Mark Harmon!

Age-gap relationship stayed platonic

In 2013 Farrell told Ellen DeGeneres that he felt they’d shared more than a friendship, at least from his perspective. Stunningly, he confessed, “It was kind of like the last — it feels like in my head, not hers, I’m projecting — but the last kind of romantic relationship I had. Which was never consummated.”

He continued, “I just adored her, she was a spectacular, spectacular woman.” Over the years, Taylor became infamous for her conveyor belt of husbands — seven in total — and Farrell smiled, “I wanted to be number eight, but we ran out of road.

6. Anthony Perkins and Tab Hunter

In 1992 Psycho star Anthony Perkins passed away from AIDS complications. The National Enquirer had broken the scoop that he was homosexual and suffering from the terrible disease in 1990. This bombshell surprised the public, as he had been married to photographer Berry Berenson since 1973 and had two children.

It transpired that Perkins had been “in the closet” for his entire screen career, scared that telling the world the truth would torpedo his leading-man status. As one pal had remarked, “This was the ’50s: a public person could not go public, even if he wanted to.”

He stayed in the closet until his death

In 2018 fellow ’50s star Tab Hunter revealed he and Perkins had dated. He told Attitude magazine, “It was difficult; we couldn’t just go out for dinner together or go see a movie because we were both getting so popular back then. I didn’t talk about my personal life to anyone back then at all.”

He admitted, “Warner Brothers never said a word about my sexuality… However, Paramount did have something to say about my relationship with Tony, and they told him they didn’t want him to see me anymore.”

7. Farrah Fawcett and Greg Lott

For three decades, legendary Charlie’s Angels star Farrah Fawcett’s on-again off-again romance with Hollywood hellraiser Ryan O’Neal kept the tabloids in business. In the final three years of her life, though, as the actress bravely fought cancer, O’Neal came back to his great love and was by her side in her final days.

This poignant tale was told in the television documentary Farrah’s Story, and it seemed to prove that love truly could conquer all. But what if that wasn’t really the case? What if it was for show?

Was her reunion really a ‘show’-mance?

You see, after Fawcett had passed away, one-time football player Greg Lott claimed to the Daily Mail that, having first met the starlet in the ‘60s, they had actually rekindled their love in her final 11 years. He said, “We fell in love with each other all those years ago and we never really stopped loving each other.”

He continued, “Our lives took us in very different directions but, in the end, her heart always came home to me and Texas.” He even alleged, “I never got to say goodbye to Farrah. Ryan shut me out of her life.”

8. Gene Roddenberry and Nichelle Nichols

In 1994 Nichelle Nichols — who played the iconic Lt. Uhura on Star Trek — revealed that she’d had an affair with series creator Gene Roddenberry. At the time, Roddenberry had been married to his first wife Eileen, so he and Nichols’ relationship was kept secret.

Startlingly, though, Nichols then found out Roddenberry was also having an affair with another Star Trek actress — Majel Barrett — and she claimed he’d floated the idea of maintaining an open relationship with both women!

Multiple affairs with Star Trek stars

Nichols didn’t go for that, though, later telling The Baltimore Sun, “I could not be the other woman to the other woman.” After they’d broken things off, she claimed Roddenberry would often act like a jilted lover on set, but despite this, she still remembered him warmly. In fact, she once told CherryLosAngeles, “The man was incredible.”

Roddenberry wound up divorcing Eileen in 1969; he married Barrett soon after. She stayed his wife until the end, but it’s believed he still engaged in multiple affairs while they were together.

9. Johnny Carson and Joan Rivers

In 1965 Joan Rivers shot to fame on The Johnny Carson Show, but when she chose to leave the show 18 years later, she alleged, “The first person I called was Johnny, and he hung up on me — and never, ever spoke to me again.”

Late in life, though — a decade after Carson had passed — she claimed she’d slept with him in order to secure that very slot on his show. He was married at the time of their “one-night bounce,” as she called it. But not everyone was convinced Rivers was telling the truth.

Did this one-night stand really happen?

“It never happened,” said Rivers’ manager Dorothy Melvin. “Joan would seize any chance, especially in her later years, to get publicity. Johnny was dead, and nobody would refute it. Joan wanted to be talked about, so she said outrageous things.”

Her pal Robert Higdon also denied it, saying, “I know she didn’t. It just wasn’t in the equation… It just never stopped. She would say these things all the time, and it got to the point where I would just disregard it.”

10. Kim Novak and Sammy Davis Jr.

When the white, blonde-haired Kim Novak fell for Sammy Davis Jr., the charismatic black singer, their love was regarded as scandalous in the deeply ingrained racist culture of the 1950s. Novak would constantly tell studio bosses that she wasn’t seeing Davis Jr., as she knew what could happen if she told the truth.

At that time, the Hays Code — the self-censorship rules enforced by the movie studios — strictly outlawed mixed-race relationships being shown on screen, and they were strenuously discouraged in real life too.

Societal prejudice prevented the relationship from going public

Novak later admitted to Vanity Fair, “It was a very dangerous relationship then: a white woman and a black man. My agent told me my career would be over if I continued to see Sammy.” Davis’ pal Arthur Silber told Smithsonian magazine that the lovers wound up conducting their relationship in a cloak-and-dagger manner.

He admitted, “It was like we were in the FBI or something. I would drop him off in front of her house in Beverly Hills and we would set up a time or a day for me to pick him up.”

11. Paul Newman

True monogamy seems to be a rarity in Hollywood, and this is why the public loved Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward’s marriage so much. Newman once famously quipped, “I have steak at home. Why should I go out for hamburger?” And, by and large, that is what his fans believed right up until his death in 2008.

Yet a year later, Shawn Levy published Paul Newman: A Life, which revealed the star had engaged in a torrid affair with journalist Nancy Bacon — and everybody in the business knew about it.

His status ‘had to be maintained’

In Levy’s book, Bacon admitted, “We were hot and heavy for about a year-and-a-half. He was at my house almost every night for two or three weeks.” She added, “It was the worst-kept secret in Hollywood. People used to joke about it: ‘Paul may not go out for hamburger, but he sure goes out for Bacon.’”

Supposedly, Newman would lie to Woodward about his long absences, saying he was shooting movies, and Bacon even claimed Robert Redford helped run interference for them to keep the relationship on the downlow.

12. Robin Gibb

After Robin Gibb — of the iconic Bee Gees — died from colon cancer in 2012 his will was made public. He had left an £800,000 home for Claire Yang, as well as a “reasonable provision” — believed to be in the vicinity of £4 million — for her daughter Snow.

Yang had worked as a housekeeper at the three mansions owned by Gibb and his wife Dwina. And Gibb never denied engaging in an affair with her from 2001 to 2008. Nor did he deny that Snow was his child.

‘Live and let live’

In 2014 Dwina spoke to the Daily Mail about Gibb’s life and work. Naturally, the subject of the affair with Yang came up, and Dwina said, “She and Snow have been provided for.” She added, “I’ve never been a jealous person — my attitude has always been, ‘Live and let live.’”

Dwina added, “People who are creative are often very different, I think, from conventional couples… There’s a certain kind of freedom I suppose we have. We always had that in our marriage, but we knew we both deeply loved each other.”

13. JFK

In 2003 — 40 years after JFK was killed by an assassin’s bullet — a biography was published which alleged he’d had a sexual relationship with a young White House intern named Mimi Alford. Fast-forward nine years and she released her own memoir, in which she claimed Kennedy had plied her with alcohol and taken her virginity in his wife Jackie’s bedroom.

Alford, who had only been 19 at the time and wound up jetting all over the U.S. to have encounters with the President, admitted, “I think he did take advantage — I was so young. But I liked feeling special.”

“Reclaiming the narrative”

When Alford spoke to Channel 4 News, she claimed she’d only gone public with her incendiary story because false narratives were being pushed about her. She explained, “It's taken so long because I lived with a secret for 45 years and I kept it a secret.”

She continued, “And in 2003, when I was publicly outed, shortly after that I realized that I needed to take control of the story.” Amazingly, in her memoir, she maintained, “I think if I was 19, and as I was, I would do it again… He was magnetic.”

14. Alan Bates and Joanna Pettet

In 1992 famed English thespian Alan Bates lost his wife Victoria, only two years after they’d also lost their 19-year-old son to an asthma attack. He never remarried, but after he’d passed away from pancreatic cancer in December 2003 it was revealed that he had rekindled a relationship with an old flame in the last year of his life.

In fact, one-time Bond girl Joanna Pettet was so important to him in this final stretch that he’d altered his will to leave her £95,000 of his $1.5 million estate.

Many bisexual love affairs

Bates and Pettet had originally fallen for each other 40 years earlier when they starred in a Broadway production of Poor Richard. They stayed friends over the following decades and found each other again when her son also tragically died. She told the Evening Standard, “We had that bond that nobody should share.”

After Bates was diagnosed, she revealed, “We had all these plans, and I could just see it crumble away. But he was so brave,” and added, “I’m just grateful to have had that time with him, but I do miss him.”

15. Richard Pryor and Marlon Brando

In 2018 iconic music producer Quincy Jones was interviewed by Vulture, and he began talking about his friendship with the legendary actor Marlon Brando. He mused, “Brando used to go cha-cha dancing with us. He could dance his ass off. He was the most charming [guy] you ever met.”

Then Jones let slip a claim which sent the internet into a frenzy: he said Brando was so amorous that he would have sex with anybody, and that comedian Richard Pryor had been one of his bisexual conquests!

Were the two icons secretly bisexual lovers?

In the wake of this, TMZ caught up with Pryor’s widow Jennifer. Not only did she not deny Jones’ claim, she said her late husband had kept extensive diaries dedicated to his bisexuality!

She smiled, “It was the ’70s! Drugs were still good, especially quaaludes. If you did enough cocaine, you’d… [make love to] a radiator and send it flowers in the morning!” We have amended that last sentence slightly to make it more family-friendly, but we’re sure you catch our drift!

16. Paul Walker

Fast and Furious star Paul Walker died in a car wreck in 2013 and it immortalized him in the eyes of fans — and especially the car community — the world over. It was reported that, at the time of his death, he was living with 23-year-old girlfriend Jasmine Pilchard-Gosnell.

Controversially, though, it was also reported that they’d been together for seven years. That meant she had been 16 and he was 33 when they’d hooked up — which is, in legal terms, statutory rape in California.

Kept under wraps

Worryingly, it subsequently came out that Walker had also dated another 16-year-old when he was 28. As Jalopnik magazine’s Kristen Lee wrote, “It’s an aspect of Walker’s life that isn’t readily discussed — especially in car media — and is almost completely unknown to car enthusiasts.”

She added, “I actually hadn’t heard about it until years after the actor had died, which was extremely troubling.” In the I Am Paul Walker documentary — which claimed to tell the actor’s life story — Pilchard-Gosnell’s name and voice were completely absent.

17. Janis Joplin and Leonard Cohen

In 1968 Janis Joplin was staying at the Chelsea Hotel in New York City and so was Leonard Cohen. In 1988 he remembered, “She wasn’t looking for me, she was looking for Kris Kristofferson; I wasn’t looking for her, I was looking for Brigitte Bardot. But we fell into each other’s arms through some process of elimination.”

Their one-night stand — and Joplin’s tragic 1970 death — led him to pen the song “Chelsea Hotel No. 2” about her. During a 1976 concert, he even revealed publicly that she had been the inspiration.

Regretted spilling the beans

Fascinatingly, in his later years Cohen told the BBC that he regretted letting the world know the song had been about Joplin. He confessed, “I’ve always disliked the locker-room approach to these matters. I’ve never spoken in any concrete terms of a woman with whom I’ve had any intimate relationships, and I named Janis Joplin in that song.”

He added, “I’ve been feeling very bad about that ever since… If there is some way of apologizing to the ghost, I want to apologize now for having committed that indiscretion.”

18. Sally Ride

Sally Ride, the first American female astronaut to go into space, passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2012. Her obituary in The New York Times detailed her pioneering exploits and ended by talking about her five-year marriage to fellow astronaut Steven Hawley.

It then went on to reveal, “Dr. Ride is survived by her partner of 27 years, Tam O’Shaughnessy.” That’s the female science writer and former tennis player! Fans — and even friends like Lynn Sherr — were astounded that Dr. Ride had kept her sexuality secret until the very end.

Didn’t want gender and sexuality to define her

Sherr wrote an article about Dr. Ride for Slate magazine, in which she admitted, “Selfishly, as her pal of more than three decades, I was stunned; hurt, that I did not know Sally fully.” O’Shaughnessy, though, told her, “Sally didn’t want to be defined by the lesbian/gay label just as she didn’t want to be defined by a gender label.”

Dr. Ride’s true love added, “We both didn’t like categories, didn’t want to define ourselves by our sexuality.” In the end, though, the astronaut wound up becoming an LGBT icon in death.

19. Thomas Kinkade

In 2012 artist Thomas Kinkade passed away from an overdose of alcohol and drugs at only 54 years old. Fans assumed he was still with Nanette, his wife of 30 years, when he died, but it soon emerged that he had actually been living with a secret girlfriend.

She soon released an explosive statement which read, “I am his live-in girlfriend. I've been with him 18 months. My name is Amy Pinto and him [sic] and his wife have been separated.”

A legal battle ensued

Pinto wound up embroiled in a legal battle with Nanette over Kinkade’s sizable estate, despite the wife’s lawyer telling The Mercury News, “She's already received a substantial, substantial sum of money that arose from her relationship with Thomas Kinkade.”

Pinto claimed she had been the love of Kinkade’s life, not his estranged wife, and that he had planned to marry her, but she also reportedly threatened to go public with information that “would have hurt his reputation.” In the end, the embittered women settled out of court.

20. Charles Lindbergh

On top of being an aviation pioneer who made the first solo transatlantic flight in his iconic custom-built aircraft The Spirit of St. Louis, Charles Lindbergh also found time to live a double life. As far as the world knew, he was happily married to Anne Morrow.

They had six children together, the first of whom was infamously kidnapped and tragically killed in 1932. Yet, in 2003 — nearly 30 years after he died — it was revealed Lindbergh had three mistresses and seven secret love children!

The scandal would have been intense

Author Rudolf Schröck told The Irish Times, “It was a secret menage à quatre, a four-way relationship that only Lindbergh knew the exact details about. He was a man with three mistresses — and a wife.”

It was Lindbergh’s three children with German hatmaker Brigitte Hesshaimer who broke the code of silence after he died. They revealed themselves to the world, despite him reportedly writing to all his mistresses ten days before he died to remind them he still desired “utmost secrecy.”