'The Andy Griffith Show': Did Jim Nabors Really Wed Rock Hudson Years Before Marrying His Longtime Partner?

Jim Nabors is known for playing the role of Gomer Pyle on both The Andy Griffith Show and its spinoff, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. However, there was a period of time where the actor’s personal life made headlines off-screen. Nabors didn’t officially come out to the public when he got married at 82, but before that, there was a rumor that he got married to another actor, Rock Hudson.

There was a long-running rumor that Jim Nabors married Rock Hudson

Beginning in the 1970s, there was a long-running rumor that Nabors had married Hudson. As reported by fact-checker Snopes, Hudson once spoke about the rumors himself.

“There appears to be a couple of elderly, or middle-aged homosexuals who live in Huntington Beach, which is just down the coast from Los Angeles, who every year give a party, a big party, 500 people or so,” he said. “And they invite everyone they know. It’s an engraved invitation, and to make it amusing they will say, ‘You’re cordially invited to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in Huntington Beach.’ One year the invitation was, ‘You are cordially invited to the wedding reception of Rock Hudson and Jim Nabors.’ And it went all over the country.”

The rumor spread like wildfire and persisted for years, with Hudson adding that “a fan magazine picked up on the invites and ran an item which named no names but alluded to the wedding of two same-sex stars.” Nabors and Hudson went as far as to even address it in the media since the rumors began reaching so far, only because they were two closeted stars in Hollywood.

The rumor reportedly led Nabors and Hudson to no longer be friends because they could not be seen in public together. It all was the result of a rumor that was not true.

Jim Nabors officially confirmed his sexuality when he married his longtime partner in 2013

In January 2013, Nabors married Stan Cadwallader, his partner of 38 years. Though Nabors had never officially come out, he and Cadwallader had been romantically linked for some time. Cadwallader was 18 years younger than Nabors.

They. traveled to Washington state to get married right after the state declared gay marriage to be legal.

“We’ve been together for 38 years, and I’m not ashamed of people knowing, it’s just that it was such a personal thing, I didn’t tell anybody,” said Nabors at the time. “I’m very happy that I’ve had a partner of 38 years, and I feel very blessed. And, what can I tell you, I’m just very happy.” 

He also spoke about this sexuality and why he never came forward about it publicly. “I haven’t ever made a public spectacle of it,” he added. “Well, I’ve known since I was a child, so, come on. It’s not that kind of a thing. I’ve never made a huge secret of it at all.”

At the end of the day, Nabors, who died in 2017, was able to marry his true love despite all the adversity and rumors that he faced early on.

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