Richard Chamberlain secretly dated fellow actor Martin Rabbett for years before rumors came out stating that the pair separated. The star eventually spoke about his sexual orientation when he shut down the rumors.
Richard Chamberlain made a name for himself as a television heartthrob with many female fans, but deep down, he held a secret - he was gay. The star chose to keep his actual sexual orientation to himself for a long time.
Chamberlain once revealed that he kept it a secret because coming out was shunned and unheard of during that time. Growing up in the '30s, '40s, and '50s was a time when being gay was the worst and least acceptable thing that one could be.
Richard Chamberlain on an episode of "The Thorn Birds" with a March 27, 1983, airdate. | Source: Getty Images
The star, born in March 1934, knew about his sexual orientation earlier on in life and thought that his true sexuality was "the deepest darkest secret you could possibly have, and I made a pact with myself never to tell anyone."
Chamberlain then made a pact with himself to never come out to anyone. He lived a double life where he grew up hating himself as a child, and later when he found stardom, he loved his work and being famous, but he had another side.
Richard Chamberlain posing for a photo, circa 1960. | Source: Getty Images
The legendary actor was also frightened, inhibited, and self-disapproving of himself because of who he was. Despite his feelings about himself, Chamberlain still found people to date who tolerated his different sides.
One of those people was Martin Rabbett, a producer and fellow actor, whom Chamberlain revealed he sometimes loved less than his job. The star explained that he felt he wouldn't have been able to exist without his acting career.
HOW THE ACTOR MET HIS PARTNER OF OVER 45 YEARS
Richard Chamberlain, Neil Patrick Harris, and Martin Rabbett pose backstage at "Hedwig and The Angry Inch" on Broadway on May 27, 2014, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
According to a January 20, 2004, The Advocate article, Chamberlain revealed that he met Rabbett while working on a Los Angeles play. When the play continued elsewhere, the pair started seeing each other earnestly after Rabbett's previous relationship concluded.
The couple's relationship took a while to settle as the pair kept splitting up. The duo was so passionate that they'd get "so mad at each other," and he struggled with many issues.
Richard Chamberlain posing for a photo, circa 1961. | Source: Getty Images
Chamberlain even described himself as "the epitome of selfishness" in his relationship with Rabbett but said his partner wasn't any better. The star also revealed that his partner was 19 years his junior but older than him in many ways, with him adding:
"І still sort of take it on faith that Martin likes being around me."
Cassandra Peterson and Martin Rabbett at the "Rambling Rose" Westwood premiere on September 19, 1991, in California. | Source: Getty Images
The actor shared in 2004 that he now knew he and Rabbett had a "deep soul relationship." Chamberlain confessed, "And that's when love is possible. When you are free. When you don't insist that your lover be anything more - faithful, anything."
The star felt all the expectations and demands went out the window when he knew he was free to love Rabbett. He explained he wasn't always on point in the relationship but was working on cleaning up his act.
Richard Chamberlain as Clyde on a "Will & Grace" episode on September 15, 2005. | Source: Getty Images
"The Thorn Birds" star finally came out publicly during a" Dateline" interview and in his memoir "Shattered Love" in 2003. He admitted, at the time, that he was now able to talk about his sexual orientation because he wasn't "afraid anymore."
Chamberlain confessed that going on live television to speak about being gay was the happiest day of his life. For once, he wasn't worried about the negative things anymore, and the experience was amazing!
He and his long-term partner have since married. The actor has since accepted himself entirely and even appeared as a gay character in "Will & Grace," "Desperate Housewives," "Brothers & Sisters," and "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry."
RICHARD WAS RUMORED TO HAVE CHOSEN HIS CAREER OVER LOVE
Richard Chamberlain rehearses narrations from "Camelot" with the Los Angeles Lawyers Philharmonic in Los Angeles on July 12, 2010. | Source: Getty Images
On February 28, 2019, the Globe magazine falsely reported that Chamberlain and Rabbett's marriage had ended in divorce. According to the report, the couple's union concluded years before in 2010, with a source alleging:
"Richard chose his career over love."
Martin Rabbett poses backstage at "Hedwig and The Angry Inch" on Broadway on May 27, 2014, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
In April 2010, an Express insider said Chamberlain's producer husband had also served as his manager for many years. However, being in Hawaii for long and older allegedly left Rabbett with no connections to push for a lasting relationship with the star.
He [Richard Chamberlain] said he didn't know the media was interested in his love life, and he didn't focus much on the internet...
Chamberlain reportedly moved back to Los Angeles after finding new acting roles through his newly acquired managers. His friends said he became lonely without Rabbett but thought his work would complete him.
CHAMBERLAIN CLAIMED HE AND RABBETT "HAVEN'T REALLY SPLIT"
Richard Chamberlain at the "Platinum Career: A Tribute to Kim Novak" reception on July 30, 2010, in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images
In December 2010, Chamberlain spoke to The Advocate about the true state of his relationship with Rabbett. The actor said: "Well, we haven't really split. In other words, we're still very, very close. The essence of our relationship has remained the same."
He explained that they just didn't live together but still spent time together, like for Thanksgiving and the then-upcoming Christmas holidays. The star said he moved to Los Angeles because he wanted to work more.
Mark Rabbett, Cindy LeRoy, Paola and Martin Rabbett at the Animal Rescue Fund Of The Hamptons Bow Wow Meow Ball on August 18, 2018, in Wainscott, New York. | Source: Getty Images
Rabbett didn't move with him because he wasn't a fan of the city but was thinking about relocating to San Francisco. The interviewer shared how they'd thought Chamberlain was single and looking for love again.
The star joked that at age 76, there was no way! He said he didn't know the media was interested in his love life, and he didn't focus much on the internet; that's why he didn't give a statement about his career or relationship plans.
Richard Chamberlain, Helen Hunt, Shep Gordon, Renee Loux, Martin Rabbett, Mike Myers, and Robin Ruzan at the Maui Film Festival - Gordon Party on June 17, 2005. | Source: Getty Images
The couple has been together for more than 45 years and seems to be going strong. To date, it doesn't seem they've extended their family by having any children, but they appear to be happy.
In 2022, Chamberlain was 88 years old and still going strong in his career. His last known acting roles were in 2015's "Justice League: Gods and Monsters," a 2017 "Twin Peaks" episode, and a 2018 part in "Nightmare Cinema" as Dr. Mirari.