John Wayne had thousands of adoring fans — male and female — but secretly-gay heartthrob Tab Hunter wasn’t one of them!
“The problem was that John was Mr. Macho, always in charge of any production,” the actor told The National ENQUIRER, recalling filming 1955’s “The Sea Chase” with the legendary star. “That kind of thing just turns me off.”
When the two worked together, Tab’s sexuality was an open secret on the Warner Bros. lot where he was under contract. But John didn’t seem to care.
“He was great to me, and wanted me to sign to his own production company. But I wasn’t a fan,” Tab said.
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While Tab turned down a big payday with the Duke, he’s still impressed with another Hollywood cowboy: Gary Cooper!
“Gary was also very masculine,” said Tab, “but just a beautiful, lovely human being. I even dated his daughter!”
Of course, Tab’s “dates” with women in the 1950s weren’t serious. Gary’s daughter, Maria, had already been seen out with Tab’s longtime boyfriend — “Psycho” star Tony Perkins!
“Tony and I were together for two or three years,” Tab dished. “Warner Bros. never said a word to me about it, either. But the Paramount studio eventually told Tony, literally, ‘We don’t want you seeing Tab anymore.’”
The secret lovers had gone out too often as a couple, even though aspiring starlets always accompanied them. Tab preferred his dates with doomed beauty Natalie Wood.
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“I loved her like a little sister,” he recalled. “We’d have our pictures taken going inside a restaurant. Then I’d go home after dinner, and she’d sneak out a back door to go on a date with Dennis Hopper!”
Tab now lives an openly gay lifestyle with longtime boyfriend Allan Glaser, who produced the 2015 documentary “Tab Hunter Confidential.”
The star also insisted that he’s “happy to be forgotten” at his retirement property in Santa Barbara, Calif., where the devout Catholic personally cleans out the stables for his beloved horses.
Said Tab: “I’d rather be there shoveling the real stuff than the Hollywood stuff!”