The quote is from an interview in 1980 when Hudson was asked if he were gay. We all know how that turned out.
Phyllis Gates worked as a clerk in a department store, airline stewardess, and secretary for a New York City talent agent, before moving to Hollywood to work for Hollywood talent agent Henry Willson, who represented Hudson and Tab Hunter.
Gates met Hudson in 1954 and they were married a year later, shortly after he finished filming Giant. Following a brief honeymoon, their marriage immediately began to disintegrate. They separated in 1957, following rumors that Hudson had committed adultery while on location in Italy for the film A Farewell To Arms. The rumors were later confirmed by a close friend of Gates’s, who also revealed to her that the individual Hudson had the affair with was not co-star Elaine Stritch, but a man. They divorced in 1958.
Gates became a successful interior decorator. She died in 2006, taken by lung cancer at her home in Marina del Rey at 80 years old.
In My Husband, Rock Hudson, published in 1987, two years after Hudson was taken by AIDS, Gates wrote that she was in love with Hudson and that she did not know Hudson was gay when they married, and was not complicit in his deception.
However, in The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson (2005) by journalist Robert Hofler, the author writes:
“Those who knew her (Gates) say she was a lesbian who tried to blackmail her movie star husband. She then became addicted to being the wife of a star, and didn’t want the divorce. Phyllis could play around with women, but Rock had to remain faithful to her. In a way, she was just being pragmatic: she feared that Rock’s exposure would ruin his fame, which was in turn her gravy train.”
Gates told septuagenarian, multi-married Larry King that people were trying to protect Hudson by spreading lies about her and that she had been the one to initiate the divorce, based on her husband’s gay behavior. Gates said she did not get much in the divorce because she did not want to take advantage of him. She never stopped loving him, and he was the “love of her life”.
Sometimes life is messy.