Scandalous Facts About Howard Hughes's Off-The-Rails Sexual Conquests and Vices
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Scandalous Facts About Howard Hughes's Off-The-Rails Sexual Conquests and Vices

Howard Hughes is a name that has long loomed large over the world of Hollywood. He was a billionaire who became involved in the film business simply because he had the money and he wanted to be in control. Over the course of his life, until his passing in 1976, he became progressively more insulated until he finally shut himself off from the world. But in the early part of his career there were a number of rumors about Howard Hughes's life in the bedroom. The billionaire producer dated almost every blonde bombshell in Hollywood, and if the crazy stories about Howard Hughes are to be believed, he hooked up with a fair amount of the male stars as well.

The following Howard Hughes facts are rumors wrapped in a shadow. Hughes was larger than life while he was alive and stories about his proclivities only grew after he left this world. Not many of the people who experienced Howard Hughes' rumored deviancy in the flesh are still alive, but despite the lack of firsthand accounts, these stories still persist.


  • Howard Hughes Did Not Discriminate When It Came To Partners

    In his early years as a Hollywood producer, Howard Hughes allegedly didn't discriminate when it came to who he took to bed. He was said to be attracted to both men and women. In the early '30s, he reportedly had intimate relationships with stars including Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn, Rita Hayworth, Cary Grant, Randolph Scott, and Tyrone Power.

    His introduction to fluidity allegedly came from an uncle's unsavory behavior when he was 15, although that has never been proven to be anything more than a rumor. According to Hughes's biographer, Charles Higham:

    He was a thoughtless, dispassionate lover, seeking only control. His sexual partners were not so much lovers as hostages, prisoners, or victims of his will; he had to dominate in everything. 

  • He Gave Gloria Vanderbilt Her First Climax

    In the book The Rainbow Comes and Goes, written out of conversations between Gloria Vanderbilt and her son Anderson Cooper, the heiress claimed she dated a 36-year-old Howard Hughes when she was 17 and that he made quite an impression on her.

    Even though he turned into a guy that cooped himself up with his own jars of pee, she claimed that when they met, he was astounding. She recalled:

    I can’t reconcile the man I dated with the man he apparently became. When I knew him, he was thirty-six, wildly romantic, and gentle, yet he had the power to rule the world.

    She wrote that Hughes wined and dined her over the course of a summer, and that he was the first guy who seemed to care about how she felt when they were making love. She wrote: "[I]t was the first time since I started having sex that summer that I didn’t have to fake [a climax]."

  • Hughes Paid One Lover's Husband To Get A Divorce

    When it came to getting what he wanted, there wasn't anything Howard Hughes wouldn't throw money at. Early on in the relationship, he didn't really want anything to do with his first wife, Ella Botts Rice, so he sent her away to Houston while he carried on with former Ziegfeld Girl Billie Dove. Unfortunately she was married while their rapturous affair was going on. 

    Hughes couldn't handle Dove having another man in her life so he paid her husband $325,000 to get a divorce. Even after spending all that money on Dove, however, Hughes still couldn't stay faithful - so she ended up leaving him. 

  • If You Didn't Sleep With Hughes It Was The End Of Your Career

    Hughes had a reputation for using his money and influence to sway starlets to sleep with him. One of the best examples of this is the career of Jane Greer, which Hughes helped to establish. While Greer wanted independence and pursued various romances, Hughes continued to pursue her, at one point exclaiming, "As long as I own the studio, you won't work."

    Luckily for her, Hughes relented and he cast her to co-star in The Big Steal (1949).

  • Hughes Liked To Watch Starlets In The Pool

    While staying at the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood Hughes requested that his room overlook the pool. This might seem like an innocuous request but he did so because he liked to spy on gals who were swimming. If he thought someone was especially good looking, he would have them called up to his room for an afternoon tryst.

    As The Telegraph reports, it's unclear if Hughes ever actually was successful in summoning a girl this way.

  • Hughes Was A Sadist

    Howard Hughes tried to keep his proclivities under wraps, but after he passed away, a slew of books came out about what he got up to in his personal time. Supposedly, in 1932 Hughes was dating Ginger Rogers (who was married to Lew Ayres) while also seeing Richard Cromwell - a closeted gay actor.

    Biographer Darwin Porter writes that Hughes saved his sadism for the men with whom he slept. He wrote:

    [Richard] was always willing to do Howard's billing, even if it humiliated him. If Howard wanted his feet massaged or his big toe licked clean, Richard was at the bottom of the bed servicing him.

    When Hughes wasn't sleeping with Richard or Rogers he used rent boys as his side pieces and he grew more sadistic as he got older. An interview subject in the book who supposedly hooked Hughes up with escorts claimed many of his paid "boys" told him "that they didn't ever want to see [Hughes] again." However, he saved his sadism for Cromwell. Porter wrote, "When [Hughes] learned that Richard found anal intercourse painful, guess what? Howard insisted on penetrating poor Richard nightly and Howard was overly endowed." Cromwell claimed that after nightly encounters with Hughes, he always bled.