Celebs Who Took Huge Secrets To The Grave

It's awfully hard for celebs to keep secrets from the public these days. Their daily lives are tracked feverishly by fans and the media. Their pasts, their hidden shames, and their families are well known to just about everyone. As hard as they may try, living a private life can be nearly impossible for the famous.

However, that wasn't and isn't always the case. We know that some lived a long time without their most monumental secrets ever being revealed to the public. Hell, the stars on this list lived their whole lives without us ever finding out their secrets. But the truth doesn't always stay private. While the celebrities on this list were able to hide parts of their lives from nearly everyone, many things they'd kept hidden were revealed after their deaths. Some secrets even came to light because of the stars' deaths. 

Here are celebs who took huge secrets to their graves.

David Carradine's risky sexual behavior

The initial reports of David Carradine's 2009 death in a Bangkok hotel suggested that he committed suicide. However, police soon reported that Carradine's death was likely the result of a "dangerous sex practice" (via Los Angeles Times). The circumstances of his death indicated that the celeb was presumably practicing auto-erotic asphyxiation.

For many fans, Carradine's cause of death seemed to challenge the stoic and mild-mannered image they'd held of Carradine, an actor best known for playing Shaolin priest Kwai Chang Caine in the Kung Fu series. For those close to him, however, Carradine's interests weren't so well hidden.

In an interview with Radar Online shortly after Carradine's death, Gail Jensen, the actor's third wife, stated that she was aware that he had "his kinky moments." Back in 2003, after an ugly court battle with then-wife Marina Carradine, the actor was accused of practicing "deviant sexual behavior which was potentially deadly." Though the claims were made public by The Smoking Gun, they were nothing more than allegations at that point.

Rock Hudson was gay

On July 26, 1985, news broke that Rock Hudson, one of Hollywood's sexiest leading men from the '50s and '60s, had AIDS. This ended the speculation as to what ailed the gaunt-looking Hudson when he'd previously appeared at a press conference alongside Doris Day, as noted by People. Back then, AIDS was largely associated with gay men, and Hudson soon became the most famous person afflicted with it.

But the actor never made an explicit statement about his sexuality before he died in October of 1985. The truth seemed confined to tight Hollywood circles, friends, and family. It wasn't until after his death that it was confirmed that Hudson was a gay man. Shortly after his passing, the autobiography Rock Hudson: His Story touched on the star's sexuality. 

In the book, he called ex-boyfriend Lee Garlington his "true love," as reported by People. Years later, a recorded conversation between Hudson and his ex-wife, Phyllis Gates, leaked to The Hollywood Reporter. In the private talk, Gates confronted Hudson about his sexuality and his sexual exploits from the 1950s.

David Cassidy didn't have dementia

Less than year before his death, David Cassidy opened up about his battle with dementia — a disease that his mother and grandfather fought, he told People. When the former singer and actor passed away in late 2017 (via CNN), most people probably assumed it was related to his alleged dementia diagnosis.

It wasn't. In fact, Cassidy was reportedly never diagnosed with dementia at all. In the documentary David Cassidy: The Last Session, the former teen idol admitted that he was diagnosed with liver disease. "There is no sign of me having dementia at this stage of my life," he said. "It was complete alcohol poisoning. And the fact is, I lied about my drinking."

In an interview with People (via Reuters), the documentary's co-producer Saralena Weinfield said of Cassidy, "We didn't want to exploit him. But ultimately he was honest about what killed him and we decided that his legacy would be best served if we shared that."

Billy Tipton was born female

Throughout the '40s and '50s, Billy Tipton was imbedded in the popular jazz scene taking hold of the country (via The New York Times). In 1951, Tipton founded the Billy Tip Tipton Trio and created a number of hits. In the late '50s, however, when Tipton was offered a recording contract and the opportunity to open for Liberace, the musician turned it down and slowly faded from popularity.

Over the course of his life, Tipton was reportedly married at least five times, and he adopted three children. His family considered him a caring family man. Yet, when Tipton collapsed in 1989 and paramedics arrived to try and save him, they discovered that Tipton was not biologically male at all. No one — not even his family — knew.

Born Dorothy Tipton, the musician began dressing as a man to allow for entry into the world of jazz. He would wear Ace bandages and a prosthetic device to pass as a man, and led a very private life to avoid detection.

According to Diane Middlebrook, author of the book Suits Me: The Double Life of Billy Tipton, the "Tipton story is about the indeterminacy of gender identity." She added, "I believe Billy's relationship to herself was female. She was the actor; he was the role."

Who was Corey Haim's rapist?

Corey Haim and his longtime best friend, Corey Feldman, both spoke about abuse they experienced as young boys in Hollywood. Feldman, the more vocal of the two, told The Hollywood Reporter that "Haim's rapist was probably connected to something bigger, and that is probably how he has remained protected for all these years."

But before anything could be revealed, Haim died. Despite reports of a drug overdose, Haim appeared to have actually passed away from pneumonia, among other factors, as noted by The Sun. But the actor's secret did not die with him. His friend, Feldman, insists that he knows who the assaulter is. When Feldman pressed his friend to tell the world when he was alive, Haim allegedly said (via E! News), "He'll kill me. He will kill me."

According to Feldman, Haim had his The Lost Boys co-star promise him that he would share his story if he should die. While Feldman identified one of the men who assaulted him as a young boy, he hasn't yet revealed the identity of Haim's attacker. Haim's mother, Judy, however, claimed actor Dominick Brascia as the culprit while on The Dr. Oz Show (via People).

Princely gifts

After Prince Rogers Nelson passed away in 2016, secrets began to emerge about the music legend. The secrets revealed about Prince, however, were not salacious. Rather many of the things we learned about him after his death surrounded his philanthropic efforts.

Van Jones, an environmentalist who worked on the Green Jobs Act, told Rolling Stone about a $50,000 check he received from an anonymous donor around 2006. Jones, who wasn't in the business of accepting anonymous checks, returned it to the sender. But it came back ... this time with a phone call.

"I cannot tell you who the money is coming from, but his favorite color is purple," the caller told Jones. It was around this time that Jones learned about some of Prince's other work. There was the co-founding of the educational effort teaching urban minority youths technology, #YesWeCode, and his donations to the family of deceased teen Trayvon Martin. These charity efforts were kept quiet, seemingly done for the cause and not the recognition.

Prince's ex-wife, Manuela Testolini, who called the musician a "fierce philanthropist," worked for his Love 4 One Another organization, as reported by Rolling Stone. She said that her ex-husband kept his name secret in order to ensure that it never overshadowed the charity or the cause.

Jimmy Savile was an alleged predator

When radio personality Jimmy Savile was alive, he was heralded as a generous and charitable man. He was even knighted. Then, in death, Savile was hit with some of the most shocking allegations ever brought against a celebrity. Shortly after he passed away in 2011, multiple allegations surfaced of Savile's sexual misconduct and assault, as reported by Time.

According to a BBC report, as many as 72 people were allegedly victimized by Savile while he was employed with the BBC. Then came a report on Savile's activities at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital, which identified an additional 63 alleged victims. By the end of 2012, the number of alleged victims reached 450 overall, according to the BBC. While most of Savile's accusers were young children when the alleged attacks took place, some were elderly, some were sick, and others were incapacitated by illness.

Saville was also accused of sleeping with corpses, according to the The Mirror. While there were rumors and warnings about Savile during his life, these were mostly ignored. It wasn't until the evidence became overwhelming that the claims were taken seriously.

Whitney Houston was allegedly abused

Whitney Houston's personal life was often media fodder. The press spoke about her drug use and her sometimes turbulent marriage. But Houston was able to keep a secret with her until she died, telling only a few people who were very close to her. When Kevin Macdonald set out to make his documentary Whitney, he stumbled upon a dark family secret, as reported by Vanity Fair. Houston's brother, Gary, accused singer Dee Dee Warwick, their cousin, of molesting him, and, as reported by Macdonald, Warwick allegedly abused Houston too.

Mary Jones, Houston's assistant and friend, told Macdonald's cameras of the day she learned of the iconic singer's secret. "[Houston] looked at me and said, 'Mary, I was molested at a young age too. But it wasn't by a man — it was a woman,'" Jones recalled. "She had tears in her eyes. She says, 'Mommy don't know the things we went through.'"

Though Houston never spoke publicly about the alleged abuse, Macdonald suggested that she once hinted at it in an interview. After Houston was asked what makes her angry, she said, "Child abuse makes me angry ... it bothers me that children, who are helpless, who depend on adults for security and love, it just bothers me. It makes me angry."

George Michael gives us faith

While George Michael's relationship with the public and the media was scandalous at times throughout his life and career, the stories that came out after his death made the singer appear as a benevolent angel. According to the Associated Press, Michael made many large donations to several charities including Childline, Macmillan Cancer Support, and the Terrence Higgins Trust, an HIV-awareness group.  

The most interesting part about these donations is that Michael kept them secret. He ensured that no one outside of the receiving parties knew that he was involved. Esther Rantzen, the founder of Childline, said that Michael gave the organization all his royalties from one of his biggest hits, "Jesus to a Child," and much more. "Over the years he gave us millions," Rantzen told the Associated Press

For the Terrence Higgins Trust, Michael did something similar. He donated the royalties from his Elton John duet, "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me."

Bob Crane's pornagraphic interests

In 1978, Bob Crane, the star of Hogan's Heroes, was found dead. According to The New York Times, he was struck with a blunt object and had an electrical cord wrapped around his neck. Yet, while the public never learned who killed Crane in the ensuing investigation, they did learn more about Crane himself (via AZ Central).

As details emerged about the crime scene and case, a new picture of Crane was painted. In the star's possessions, investigators found countless Polaroid pictures and videotapes, homemade pornography that the actor had been creating for years. According to the Daily Mail, Crane's dressing room was "porn central." He is believed to have been a sex addict before that term was used.

Crane's secrets weren't kept from everyone, however — just the public. Crane shared in his exploits with electronic salesman John Carpenter, who became the prime suspect in the actor's murder (via AZ Central). Crane also reportedly showed co-star Richard Dawson's son some of his homemade tapes. Even a few members of Crane's family were aware of his double life.

Patricia Crane, his wife, told ABC News that her husband told her his "hobby was photography — I didn't figure it was landscape! He brought over a double-thick briefcase, and it was filled with like four rows of slides in a box about that big. So there were thousands of slides in there ... of all the women in his life."

Sally Ride, the first gay astronaut

In 1983, when Sally Ride took her first of two trips out of our atmosphere, she made history as the first American woman in space. She became a huge presence in the NASA community, promoting education and space interest in youths, so much so that President Barack Obama posthumously awarded her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. "As the first American woman in space, Sally did not just break the stratospheric glass ceiling, she blasted through it," Obama said. "And when she came back to Earth, she devoted her life to helping girls excel in fields like math, science and engineering."

But it wasn't until Sally Ride's tragic death in 2012 (via Business Wire) that she also became known as the first astronaut to be acknowledged as gay. Between 1982 and 1987, the celeb was married to another astronaut, Steven Hawley, but she began a relationship with Tam O'Shaughnessy during that time and kept it secret from the public (via NBC News). When her obituary named Tam O'Shaughnessy, "her partner of 27 years," the public finally discovered the truth about Ride's intensely private personal life. 

Anthony Perkins' private death

Anthony Perkins lived a quiet and private life. His sheltered personality inevitably drew similarities to his most famous character, Norman Bates from Psycho, a comparison that Perkins reviled. When, in 1992, Perkins died at his home surrounded by his close family and friends, it seemed to be without warning, at least to the public. But Perkins was prepared. He had been sick and had kept it secret from the outside world.

According to The New York Times, for two years prior to his death, Perkins was secretly receiving treatment for AIDS. "He went twice to stay at the hospital, and once as an out-patient, and we went under another name," his wife, Berry Berenson, said. "You think that this man has spent his entire life giving people so much pleasure in show business, and this is his reward. He can't even be himself at the end."

According to Perkins, who wrote a statement to be read after his death, his reasons for secrecy were largely because he didn't want a big deal made of it. "I chose not to go public about [having AIDS]," he said through spokesperson Leslee Dart (via Los Angeles Times), "because, to misquote Casablanca, I'm not much at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of one old actor don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world."

Gene Wilder wanted to keep fans smiling

It wasn't until Gene Wilder died at the age of 83 that fans first learned what had been ailing the legendary comedian. When the celeb's death was announced in 2016, Us Weekly also released his cause of death: "complications from Alzheimer's disease." According to a follow-up report, Wilder had been struggling with the disease for more than three years before it finally took him.

In a statement released by his family (via Us Weekly), it was said that Wilder's secret was a way of protecting the smiles of his fans, so to speak. "The decision to wait until this time to disclose his condition wasn't vanity," they said, "but more so that the countless young children that would smile or call out to him 'there's Willy Wonka,' would not have to be then exposed to an adult referencing illness or trouble and causing delight to travel to worry, disappointment or confusion. He simply couldn't bear the idea of one less smile in the world."

Farrah Fawcett never lost touch with college sweetheart

Several years after her death, it was revealed in a lawsuit that Farrah Fawcett had remained in touch and was even still lovers with her college sweetheart Greg Lott after rekindling their relationship in 1998 until she died in 2009. Fawcett and Lott attended the University of Texas and dated during their undergraduate years. Fawcett even left money in her will to sweetheart Lott. "Farrah Fawcett and I reunited ... in a relationship, a loving, consensual, one-on-one relationship," Lott told ABC News.

 After her death, Fawcett was rumored to be in a love triangle with her ex Ryan O'Neal and Lott. O'Neal and Fawcett had on-again, off-again relationships for three decades. Lott told ABC that he and Fawcett's relationship was kept under wraps and away from the public eye.

Lott purported that O'Neal kept him from being with Fawcett during her final days. Fawcett died after a battle with cancer at the age of 63.

Johnny Carson allegedly had a mistress in Texas

He never revealed her identity, but Johnny Carson reportedly had an affair with a woman in Texas for several years. He maintained the relationship by visiting the state to check in on his investment in a mall property there. Henry Bushkin, Carson's attorney, wrote a tell-all book about Carson, highlighting the late-night host's alleged love affair and womanizing. Bushkin refers to Carson's supposed mistress as Miss Texas.

Bushkin's book alleges that Carson and his mistress met in 1974 and had an affair for eight or nine years. Despite the inclusion of the alleged mistress in Bushkin's book, the identity of Carson's paramour was never revealed. It's possible she's still in the world somewhere, but who she is remains a mystery.

Although Bushkin's book notes some of the meetings between Miss Texas and Carson, Carson's second wife Joanne Copeland denied at least one of the anecdotes. When Carson died in 2005, he was still married to his fourth wife.

Clark Gable allegedly fathered Loretta Young's daughter Judy Lewis

Decades after his death in 1960, and shortly before her own, Loretta Young admitted that her daughter Judy Lewis was conceived with Clark Gable. Young and Gable were co-stars in the 1935 movie "Call of the Wild." Young confirmed the parentage in her authorized biography "Forever Young: The Life, Loves, and Enduring Faith of a Hollywood Legend," published only a few months after Young's death.

The biography notes that Young became pregnant by Gable while they were filming "Call of the Wild." She then left public life and said she adopted her daughter after secretly birthing her. Lewis herself published her suspicions that Gable was her father in her book "Uncommon Knowledge," but her mother never confirmed the longtime rumor. When she was 31, Lewis confronted her mom about who her father was, and that was when Young finally told her the truth.

Gable's only other child was John Clark Gable with his fifth wife Kay Spreckles. His son was born after his sudden death in November 1960.

Carrie Fisher allegedly had affairs with two rock stars at 17

Revealed in a biography after her death, it was explained that Carrie Fisher had relationships with David Bowie and Freddie Mercury in 1973 when she was just 17 years old. Per Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince's biography, Mercury and Bowie cheated on their partners to be with Fisher at the time. And it was Bowie who introduced Fisher to illicit drugs. Fisher allegedly met the two rock stars through Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones when she attended one of their parties with her mother Debbie Reynolds.

Porter is a longtime Hollywood insider who, among others, interviewed Joan Hackett before her death. Hackett was one of Fisher's closest friends and revealed to Porter some of the things Fisher said about her time with Bowie. Per Hackett, Fisher said of Bowie, "I took drugs with him. I have no one to blame but myself for my future addiction, but he certainly led me to the water to drink."

Bing Crosby was tied to the mob

Not only did Bing Crosby hang out with low-level mobsters, but he was also pals with some high-level ones, including Jack "Machine Gun" McGurn, one of the alleged gunmen in Chicago's Valentine's Day Massacre. FBI documents obtained in 1999 revealed that Crosby's ties to organized crime were reportedly long.

One of the reasons Crosby spent so much time with mobsters was simply because he wanted someone to play golf with. Biographer J. Roger Osterholm noted: "Crosby just loved golf; he didn't care who he played with. I stress that it was just very innocent — it was just to play golf." Although some of the interactions may have been innocent, one of the FBI documents states that Crosby had to pay $10,000 to eliminate a mob-related threat.

FBI documents dictate that there were several threats on Crosby's life by various members of the organized crime syndicate. And that he was far from the only Hollywood mobster hobnobber.