Legendary actor Stanley Baxter has come out as gay aged 94 after 25 years of living as a virtual recluse.
The Scottish actor came out in a new authorised biography, titled The Real Stanley Baxter, written by Brian Beacom.
In the book, Baxter discussed his relationship with his wife Moira Robertson, who died in 1997, and opened up about the pain of hiding his lifelong attraction to men.
Baxter said he was “apprehensive” when he and Robertson embarked on a romantic relationship, and said the “defining point” in his life came when she told him that she wanted to get married.
“I couldn’t entertain such a thought and I felt the relationship simply had to stop, so I broke it off,” Baxter said.
“However, Moira was very, very upset. I kept getting those sheep’s eyes every time she passed me in the theatre and she appeared to be heartbroken.”
Stanley Baxter married his wife after she threatened to jump out of a window.
Baxter decided to be “entirely honest” with Robertson and told her about his “true sexual predilection”.
“I told her my preference and said: ‘That’s why I am breaking off the relationship. This would be NO life for you, married to someone who is essentially and primarily a homosexual.'”
However, Robertson did not take the news as he expected, and he agreed to continue their relationship after she threatened to jump out the window of their second-floor apartment.
“By that time, I had so many tender feelings for her. I thought she would still be heartbroken. But of course I should have been stronger. It was real weakness on my part,” Baxter said.
After they were married, he and his wife had an arrangement where she would allow him to bring men home for sex. In 1962, he was arrested for soliciting in a public toilet.
I never wanted to be gay. I still don’t.
“I was going to top myself,” he said. “I thought, ‘My career will never survive this. And if I don’t have a career, what do I have?'”
The charge of soliciting was later dropped, and he went on to have a long-term relationship with a German accountant. He remained married to Moira until her death.
“Anybody would be insane to choose to live such a very difficult life,” Baxter said in the book.
“There are many gay people these days who are fairly comfortable with their sexuality, fairly happy with who they are. I’m not. I never wanted to be gay. I still don’t.”
Baxter said he has lived the last 25 years as a virtual recluse in his London apartment as he “didn’t want to be seen as someone who was once Stanley Baxter”.