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Did Clark Gable Date Rape Loretta Young?

Kaitlan Collins White House Correspondent
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Clark Gable fathered a child with his costar Loretta Young in the 1930s, and now her family is suggesting that she was date raped by Gable.

Gable and Young met on the set of “The Call of the Wild” in 1935, and though Gable was married, Young found out she was pregnant shortly after filming wrapped. She kept the pregnancy hush-hush, and even staged an adoption for Judy.

It wasn’t until Judy wrote a memoir in the early 1990s, where she said her “life has been filled with hypocrisy and deception from the moment I was born,” that she told the story of her conception. Young wouldn’t admit it publicly until a memoir published after her death in 2000.

But in a new piece by Anne Helen Peterson, Young’s family implies that their relationship was not consensual.

Peterson spoke to Young’s son Chris and his wife Linda. Linda told Peterson the story of when Young asked her what the term “date rape” meant.

“Young loved to watch ‘Larry King Live,’ which is most likely what prompted her to first ask her friend, frequent houseguest, and would-be biographer, Edward Funk, and then her daughter-in-law, Linda Lewis, to explain the term ‘date rape.’ As Lewis recalled from her Jensen Beach, Florida, home this April, sitting next to her husband, Chris — Young’s second born — and flanked by Young’s Oscar and Golden Globe, it took a tact to explain, in language that an 85-year-old could understand, what ‘date rape’ meant. ‘I did the best I could to make her understand,’ Lewis said. ‘You have to remember, this was a very proper lady.’

When Lewis was finished describing the act, Young’s response was a revelation: ‘That’s what happened between me and Clark.'”

Clark Gable raped Loretta Young

Loretta Young during a ball in Beverly Hills. (Photo: AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

Linda told Peterson that Young asked her about date rape a second time.

It was in 1998 — in the wake of Judy’s memoir — that Young, by then in her eighties, first heard the term “date rape” on ‘Larry King Live,’ at home in Palm Springs with Ed Funk. ‘She asked me what that meant and I explained to the best of my ability,’ Funk told me. The next night, Linda was over for dinner, and Young brought up the term again, asking for further explanation. Linda recalls telling Young that it was ‘basically when you’re with someone that you trust, or literally on a date with them, and you’re not compliant, or you’re saying no, and they’re not listening. And they either can’t hear it or believe the old myth of ‘Oh, you really want that.’ I said, ‘It doesn’t have to be violent, it doesn’t have to be rip-your-clothes-off. It’s when your no isn’t no.’

Clark GAble raped Loretta Young

Clark Gable in ‘The Painted Desert.’ (Photo: STF/AFP/Getty Images)

‘And there was this whole dawning,’ Linda said, with the sound of Young’s voice, still on TCM, in the background, mixed in with the slow patter of the end of a Florida thunderstorm. ‘Like, suddenly there’s a category that this thing that happened to her fits. And she was a good actress, but this was not fake. She said, ‘That — that’s what happened to me.’ We talked about it, and it didn’t make her angry at him, it just gave her a new frame that I think lifted a lot of her guilt.'”

Read the story in full here.