Richard Chamberlain lived his life pretending to be someone else. The actor, who was married to a man, and was scared to reveal his sexuality later confessed how hiding it made him feel.
Richard Chamberlain was loved in the world of showbiz. From his 1960 feature in "Dr. Kildare" to his steamy role as Father Ralph in the 1980s miniseries "The Thorn Birds," TV lovers were in awe of his talent.
The actor was a young, bright, and clever star with an excellent profile. He also became one of the most sought-after actors of his time.
Richard Chamberlain poses for a photo in "The Thornbirds," circa 1961. | Source: Getty Images
Chamberlain dominated the 1980s, appearing in the "Count of Monte-Cristo," and "Shogun." In return for his dedication and discipline, he earned prestigious awards and nominations— including Golden Globes for his appearance in "The Thorn Birds" and "Shogun."
To the public, Chamberlain was living a perfect life, one that was wrapped in prestige and glamor. However, the actor only masked his fear of not being accepted. Ironically, he lived with self-disdain and hid the biggest secret at the time, which metamorphosed into a severe identity crisis.
RICHARD CHAMBERLAIN HID HIS SEXUALITY
Richard Chamberlain on an episode of "The Thorn Birds" with a March 27, 1983 airdate. | Source: Getty Images
During his reign as the "king of miniseries," Chamberlain was a staple to both movie producers and movie lovers. This was because he was exceptional in his roles.
However, the actor was not an open book to everyone, especially when it involved his private life. The "Shogun" star was gay, and while friends and colleagues were aware of this, he hid it from the public.
Richard Chamberlain during the Off-Broadway Opening Night after party of "Sticks and Bones" at Ktchn in The Out NYC on November 6, 2014. | Source: Getty Images
Chamberlain had always felt different, but because of the era he grew up in, it was almost like a crime to be gay. The actor admitted that it was the worst thing, adding that this made him feel self-dislike and unsure of himself. In his words:
"I've grown up in the 30s, 40s, 50s, where being gay was not an option. It simply was not an option. It was the worst possible thing you could be."
Portrait taken of Richard Chamberlain on January 1, 1962. | Source: Getty Images
According to Chamberlain, he also dealt with the fear of being outed. The "Shogun" star revealed that he had been stereotyped as always playing a leading romantic character.
This made him portray a different lifestyle to his fans. Chamberlain succumbed to cultural fear and could not control being prejudiced.
Richard Chamberlain posing for a photo, circa 1960. | Source: Getty Images
The famous star resorted to dating different women as a publicity stunt. Although he admitted to enjoying the outings, he was never intimate with any of his girlfriends.
In the end, Chamberlain realized that putting up a show and denying himself his ultimate reality sapped a lot of his energy and was extremely exhausting.
CHAMBERLAIN DENIES HIS REALITY
Richard Chamberlain during the premiere of Showtime's "Twin Peaks" at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on May 19, 2017, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images
While Chamberlain lived a lie in public, he was in a committed relationship with his male lover, and somehow, the tabloids caught wind of his secret.
In 1991, an American publication spilled the beans. However, Chamberlain was not ready to reveal this part of him, so he vigorously denied the accusation.
The actor was consumed by fear of losing his career and being the most hated man in the country. After the denial, the Golden Globes winner remained out of sight for a year; he stopped working and waited for the dust to settle.
Richard Chamberlain during the Gala screening of "Shame" at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood during AFI Fest 2011 on November 9, 2011 in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images
Surprisingly, after his short hiatus, nothing changed. It was as if nothing had ever happened, and his life was back on track. While recounting the terrifying situation, Chamberlain revealed:
"My career demanded that I keep all that as secret as possible. I was playing a romantic leading man most of my life. You don't go around saying you live with a guy when you are playing a romantic lead."
Despite his romantic leads, the actor married his partner, Martin Rabbett. But to protect his career, Rabbett remained invisible for nearly three decades.
CHAMBERLAIN COME OUT AFTER DECADES
Richard Chamberlain at the "Platinum Career: A Tribute to Kim Novak" reception on July 30, 2010, in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images
It took about six decades for Chamberlain to get the courage to break free from the double life. This happened in 2002 when the actor wrote his memoir.
Chamberlain, who was 68 years old when he wrote the book, confessed that he had gone through therapy and a lot of spiritual exercises while being motivated by friends.
Richard Chamberlain as Clyde on a "Will & Grace" episode on September 15, 2005. | Source: Getty Images
Still, all that did not work until Chamberlain suddenly felt like he had a divine encounter that changed everything. According to the "Dr. Kildare" star:
"I felt like God placed his hand on my head and said: 'OK, enough. You're free.' It happened so suddenly. And I am now so happy."
With refreshing honesty, Chamberlain acknowledged that he had played "cat and mouse" for many years. Following the revelation in his book "Shattered Love," edited by Rabbett, he felt "lighter and freer."
One impressive thing about the entire procedure was the acceptance he received from fans and the press. When he released the book, a fan wrote a touching letter. It partly reads:
"We always knew you were there."
Chamberlain admired the acceptance, adding that he feared the worst. Nobody hated him or criticized his choices. Instead, he began getting calls for interviews and appeared with his partner.
INSIDE CHAMBERLAIN'S ROMANCE WITH RABBETT
Martin Rabbett poses backstage at "Hedwig and The Angry Inch" on Broadway on May 27, 2014, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
Despite revealing his sexuality, Chamberlain wanted to keep his romance under wraps and enjoy his private life. Chamberlain and Rabbett hoisted their personal space in Oahu, which had been their home for over a decade. They were building a beach house in the area and hoped to keep fans away from it.
Chamberlain and his lover lived harmoniously for three decades until their separation. Consequently, the actor moved to Los Angeles but remained close to his former partner. In his words:
"We don't live together anymore, and we're much better friends than we've ever been."
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
In 2010, shortly after their separation, the actor listed their luxurious 6,150 square feet home in Kihei, HI, on the market. This property was purchased in 1999 for $3,500,000, but its selling price was $19,000,000.
Chamberlain has never said anything to discredit his lover; neither of them shared the reasons for their split, but while speaking about their romance, the actor jokingly explained that he would advise married couples to get another home.
Rachel Ward Had Instant Chemistry with Co-star Husband of 38 Years While Playing Incompatible Couple
March 13, 2022
Inside Rachel Ward & Bryan Brown's Sydney Cottage They Have Lived in for Decades despite Local Disapproval
April 11, 2022
Mickey Rooney Said He 'Died' When 5th Wife Was Killed by Her Lover Yet He Married Her Best Friend
March 23, 2022
Barry Manilow Wed Woman before Marrying Man Who Allegedly 'Resisted Marriage for So Long' Years Later
June 17, 2022