Famous Hollywood Lavender Marriages

By | May 30, 2019

test article image
Rock Hudson with his bride of three days, former Phyllis Gates, 25, his agent's secretary, prepares to board a Pan American Clipper in Miami, Nov. 11, on the way to a honeymoon in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Source: (gettyimages.com)

During the early days of Hollywood, a gay actor or actress had to keep their sexual preferences hidden for fear of ruining their careers. To give the appearance of being straight—and often at the insistence of their agents or studio—homosexual entertainers would sometimes marry a person of the opposite sex in what was known as a ‘lavender marriage.’ Around the turn of the century, the color lavender was often associated with homosexuality, so the term was adopted by Hollywood to mean cover-up marriages arranged to keep up the façade of heterosexuality. Let’s look at some famous lavender marriages from Hollywood.

test article image
Rudolph Valentino and Natacha Rambova. Source: (facitnate.com)

Rudolph Valentino and Natacha Rambova

In the 1920s, actor Rudolph Valentino was rumored to be bisexual which could pose a public relations problem for the handsome leading man. His acquaintance, costume and set designer Natacha Rambova was in a lesbian relationship with an actress, Alla Nazimova, which put her in the crosshairs of studio execs. The solution? In 1923, Rambova married Valentino in an attempt to show their fans that rumors of their homosexuality were unfounded. The marriage lasted only two years.