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

Updated February 25, 2019 85.4k views8 items

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.

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  • 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).