Countless public figures have married for love, only to discover they'd married into the love that dare not speak its name. It's a fascinating phenomenon because we can all relate to the terror of finding out our partners are not who we think they are, and because most of us have fairly rigid ideas of sexuality: Didn't she realize the dude was gay when he couldn't get it up on their honeymoon? Bisexuality exists, people, as does functional bisexuality.
It's also a fascinating phenomenon when it comes to the rich and famous because it's sometimes a marriage of convenience to shore up finances, to nail down some sex-free companionship and/or to beard up for one's public.
Check out this list of some famous, straight or straightish (hey, with Hollywood stars "straight" is pretty hard to pin down) people who got hitched to gays, lesbians and/or bisexuals...
Angela Lansbury <-> Richard Cromwell m. 1945—1946
As a 19-year-old, the future acting legend married Jezebel actor Richard Cromwell, a man nearly twice her age who was at least bisexual. Though they stayed married less than a year, they reportedly remained on good terms following their divorce until Cromwell's death at 50 in 1960.
Fran Drescher <-> Peter Marc Jacobson m. 1978—1999
The nasal-voiced Nanny met her future husband when they attended Hillcrest High in Queens, New York. Their tight bond led to big success as a production team, but Jacobson eventually came out to his wife and their marriage, if not their friendship, ended. Many years after they were through romantically, the couple struck gold with the hit series Happily Divorced on TV Land that is based on their unique union.
Lisa Marie Presley <-> Michael Jackson m. 1994—1996
Elvis's rebellious daughter got hitched to the King of Pop, perhaps not quite understanding that she was probably the equivalent of the "Elephant Man"'s bones. Was Jackson "gay," per se? It depends on your definition. Many people refuse to accept that a pedophile should be categorized as straight or gay, and still more refuse to accept that plenty of evidence exists that Jackson's sexuality was centered around children to begin with. But if he were not a genius artist, no one would doubt that Jackson was sexually aroused by young males—or be fooled by his infamous MTV kiss with Presley.
Charlotte Rae <-> John Strauss m. 1951—1975
As a stage actress in the '50s, Rae released a solo album called Songs My Mother Taught Me, produced by then-husband Strauss. She should've listened to Mama's advice on marrying musicians—Strauss, who went on to work with Woody Allen, write notable TV themes like the one for The Phil Silvers Show and produce the soundtrack for Amadeus, told Rae he was gay and they separated in the mid-'70s. His partner died in 2003 and Strauss died in 2011; Rae's forthcoming memoir discusses how it felt to have married a gay man.
The first couple of the silver screen met while doing a play in 1927 and enjoyed a long, mostly sexless union—he was bisexual, but seemed very much more tilted toward men. Scotty Bowers tells a story in his memoir that implies the Laughtons may have had quite a "shitty" time of it, indeed.
Carrie Fisher <-> Bryan Lourd m. 1991—1994
The Star Wars ingenue was actually a showbiz vet who'd probably seen just about everything before marrying talent agent Lourd in 1991. And yet, he surprised her by leaving to be with a man. There is some doubt as to whether they were ever legally married. Here's Lourd hangin' with Ricky Martin and his man. While we're talking about gaydar, for years Fisher's mother Debbie Reynolds has been rumored to be a lesbian, but Fisher says she's merely "a really bad heterosexual."
Ruth St. Denis <-> Ted Shawn m. 1914—1968
The mostly gay Shawn had been an ardent fan of St. Denis, traveling to New York in order to meet, work with and ultimately marry her. They formally separated 16 years later after they both had an affair with a male business manager but never divorced, leaving behind them an impressive creative legacy. Shawn went on to form Ted Shawn and His Men Dancers.
Barbara Hutton <-> Cary Grant m. 1942—1945
Betsy Drake <-> Cary Grant m. 1949—1962
Dyan Cannon <-> Cary Grant m. 1965—1968
Look, Cary Grant had sex with men. Get over it. If I can get over the idea that he also had sex with women (second wife Betsy Drake said, "Why would I believe that Cary was a homosexual when we were busy fucking?"), you can get over the idea that he had sex with men, including a long relationship with Randolph Scott. If you had any doubts, check out the mugs in that first photo, the one of Grant on his honeymoon with heiress Barbara Hutton—they were nicknamed "Cash and Cary." Along with Drake, both Cannon and her daughter with Grant pooh-poohed rumors that Grant was gay. Grant was hyperthenthitive about the whispers, even suing admittedly homophobic goon Chevy Chase when Chase called him a "homo" on a morning talk show. They settled out of court, but that doesn't mean the jury is out.
Judy Garland <-> Vincente Minnelli m. 1945—1951
Judy Garland <-> Mark Herron m. 1965—1969
When your husband directs Hollywood musicals, there's a pretty good chance he enjoys the boys. Minnelli's homosexuality was widely discussed, but Garland was seemingly the last to know, coming home early once to find him in bed with a male employee. I've read that he was quite openly gay before he moved to Hollywood, but he certainly never came out. Garland also wed Mark Herron, who was said to have had an affair with her daughter Liza Minnelli's boyfriend. She was born in a trunk and too soon—these days, she'd have a solid reality-TV career to get her through the hard times.
Liza Minnelli <-> Peter Allen m. 1967—1974
Liza Minnelli <->David Gest m. 2002—2007
I have a lot of sympathy for straightish people who marry gay people unwittingly. But in the case of Liza Minnelli marrying Peter Fucking Allen, I mean, puh-leeze! That's like vowing to love, honor and obey the willing suspension of disbelief. Years later, she hooked up with David Gest in a gesture for publicity and comfort (the two rarely go together), but don't forget that Gest vehemently denies all the impressions he's given that he might be gay. No less an authority than Boy George has said he thinks Gest is actually a transsexual, so I will throw caution to the wind and state I'm inclined to respectfully doubt Gest's assertion.
Amanda Blake >-> Mark Spaeth m. 1984—1985
Gunsmoke's "Miss Kitty" married Austin City Council member Mark Spaeth in the '80s, divorced him and then died of AIDS in 1989. At the time, her cause of death was covered up until friends and her primary physician spoke out. Even People Magazine, a rather discreet publication in the '80s when it came to gay rumors and AIDS, pointed out that Spaeth was "definitely perceived as being a homosexual," and considering he died of full-blown AIDS less than a year after her married her, it seems this was a case where a woman knowingly married a gay man for financial and/or companionship reasons, but made the mistake of picking one with a secret that in 1984 was far more potentially damaging than being gay.
Lou Diamond Phillips <-> Julie Cypher m. 1987—1990
The La Bamba star met Julie Cypher while they were filming a movie called Trespassing, he in front of and she behind the camera (as an assistant director). Cypher seems to get right down to business while working—she met and became romantically involved with rocker Melissa Etheridge on the set of a music video she was directing for her. Though she became Etheridge's high-profile partner (and the mother of their children) over the next few years, she would go on to marry a man again.
The indomitable showgirl married her manager in the '50s and stayed married to him for over 40 years, even though they apparently only had sex twice during their time together. She filed for divorce in 1999, citing Lowe's homosexuality as well as alleging abuse. He died of natural causes before the split was finalized. Channing did have a much happier next marriage, to childhood sweetheart Harry Kullijian; the pair were inseparable during their married, which lasted until his death the day before his 92nd birthday.
Berry Berenson <-> Anthony Perkins m. 1973—1992
Elsa Schiaparelli's granddaughter (and Marisa Berenson's sister) married her co-star Anthony Perkins in the early seventies, while her career as a photographer was taking off. The two remained together in spite of Perkins's well-documented homosexuality. He admitted he had his first sexual experience with a woman (Victoria Principal!) at age 39. He contracted AIDS while married to Berenson, leaving her a widow in 1992. Tragically, Berenson perished during the September 11 attacks in 2001.
Martha Raye <-> Mark Harris m. 1991—1994
When she was elderly and ailing, '40s movie legend Raye married a man in his early forties, who from all indications seemed to be a gay fan who wanted to take it—"it" being her money—from "Big Mouth." But for his part, Harris, who did wind up inheriting Raye's $3 million-dollar estate, told CNN that if he were gay he would would be the first to say so. Rather, he was bisexual, something Raye certainly knew, even if she'd only known the guy for a month when they wed.
Star Jones <-> Al Reynolds m. 2004—2008
Only a gay man would want to marry Star Jones, a gay man who could relate to being a high-maintenance diva. But while rumors were rampant before, during and after Star Jones became Star Jones-Reynolds, it has to be said that "Big Gay Al" (as he was nicknamed by the unforgiving, emerging Web media) has always denied he likes menz. I'm putting him on the list just in case he changes his mind.