For the handsome leading man of romantic epics like "The Thorn Birds," it was an agonizing and monumental decision. Richard Chamberlain says, "It scared me to death because I had been hidden for so long."
Richard Chamberlain feared the potentially devastating fallout from such a bombshell revelation. He says, "I thought it would be so ruinous for my career if this terrible secret ever got out."
But the legendary actor told "Extra" that he is happy, proud, and relieved that he has finally come out of the closet after living a double life for some 69 years. He says, "It's like the most horrendous burden becomes like a joke."
The man who first won America's heart as TV's "Dr. Kildare" candidly declares in his new autobiography, Shattered Love, that he has always been covertly gay and been in a long-term relationship with actor Martin Rabbitt. Chamberlain says, "And so I created another person, the perfect Richard, the all-American boy to try to cover it."
Especially after becoming a matinee idol with a legion of adoring women fans. He says, "It was my job and the public image was also part of my job."But Richard says stardom only increased his dread of being publicly outed. He says, "It was my worst nightmare."
He says it wasn't until he actually sat down to write his autobiography that he found the courage to bare the truth. He says, "Once I realized and lost my own fear of the subject, which suddenly vanished overnight, I was free to talk about it."
And finally let the real Richard Chamberlain stand up.