Tom Selleck: The Gay Rumor That Almost Derailed His Career

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The signature mustache and sexy macho bravado that is Tom Selleck have kept everyone who adores him enamored for years.

Since 2016, he has been the face of American Advisors Group (AAG)’s reverse mortgage loans. The American actor/producer, who turned 78 on January 29, 2023, is now believed to have a net worth of $45 million.

When he burst onto the scene in 1980 as Magnum P.I., he captured the hearts of countless women on a weekly basis. Perhaps even some men too?

Tom Selleck starred as Thomas Sullivan Magnum in Magnum, P.I., an American crime drama television series that ran from 1980 to 1988Tom Selleck starred as Thomas Sullivan Magnum in Magnum, P.I., an American crime drama television series that ran from 1980 to 1988 (Credit: Michael Carpenter / WENN / FayesVision)

There was a time when the whispers ran wild….is he gay? Could he be? If that was the truth, and it was confirmed, it could have meant an end to his career in the mid-1990s.

Debunking that myth became the sole focus of the actor, and confirming that he was neither homosexual nor homophobic proved to be a little more difficult for Tom than imagined.

Selleck has starred in many successful television shows and movies. He is best known for his role as Thomas Magnum in the 1980s television series Magnum P.I., which was a huge hit.

The popular actor has starred in films such as Three Men and a Baby, Mr. Baseball, and Quigley Down Under.

During the pinnacle of his career, Tom Selleck crossed paths with Jillie Joan Mack, who was showcasing her talents in the musical Cats, and the couple exchanged vows in 1987During the pinnacle of his career, Tom Selleck crossed paths with Jillie Joan Mack, who was showcasing her talents in the musical Cats, and the couple exchanged vows in 1987 (Credit: Michael Carpenter / WENN / FayesVision)

Rumors and Accusations Surrounding Tom Selleck’s Sexual Orientation

The rumors started about his sexual orientation the second he became popular but intensified when an anonymous poster featured him and a few others claiming they were gay.

These anonymous posters were distributed all around New York City in 1991 by a well-known gay activist group and then subsequently caught the attention of a popular tabloid magazine, “The Globe.”

The magazine published the pictures of these posters to its million-plus audience, along with a headline definitively claiming that the actor was gay.

Tom Selleck with his wife Jillie Mack and his daughter Hannah Margaret Selleck at the 2000 Emmy AwardsTom Selleck with his wife Jillie Mack and his daughter Hannah Margaret Selleck at the 2000 Emmy Awards (Credit: Michael Carpenter / WENN / FayesVision)

This infuriated Selleck, who had been battling these rumors for years that he felt were totally unfounded and without merit.

In July 1991, he filed a $20 million libel and invasion of privacy lawsuit against the Globe supermarket tabloid. The lawsuit alleged that the Globe had defamed Selleck by publishing an article that implied he was gay.

The article, titled “‘Gay’ Stars Stop Traffic,” listed Selleck’s name among a group of celebrities photographed with placards that said, “Absolutely Queer.”

Selleck’s lawsuit aimed to address the harm caused by the publication’s false and intrusive content. “I am as proud of my sexual preference as those who happen to be gay are of theirs,” Selleck said in a statement published in The Los Angeles Times in 1991.

“There is not a man who has lived on the face of the Earth in my lifetime who can truthfully deny what is so obviously my choice; that is, that I am singularly heterosexual.”

Tom Selleck with his wife Jillie Mack and his daughter Hannah Margaret Selleck at the 2004 Emmy AwardsTom Selleck with his wife Jillie Mack and his daughter Hannah Margaret Selleck at the 2004 Emmy Awards (Credit: Michael Carpenter / WENN / FayesVision)

At the time, Selleck was concerned that suing the tabloid would add more fuel to the fire and give more life to the scandal, but he erred on the side of the truth, which he demanded to be printed as a retraction.

”I thought suing the tabloid was right,” Selleck told Entertainment Weekly in 1991 on the Chicago set of his new movie, Folks.

”I didn’t think in terms of giving them more publicity. There is a very important issue here about how people lie. If truth and justice can still be used in the same sentence — and I think they still can — then this thing will work itself out just fine.”

Is Tom Selleck still married?

Yes, Tom Selleck is still married to Jillie Mack. They have been married since August 7, 1987, and have one daughter together, Hannah.

The actor, twice married, was first wed to Jacqueline Ray (1971-1982), who also starred in the Magnum P.I. series. They married before his breakout role in P.I.

Although they had no children, Selleck adopted Jacqueline’s son from a previous marriage, Kevin.

They were reported to divorce due to the stress of the star’s overnight fame and the overwhelming female attention Tom attracted from adoring fans.

A fan carrying a signed photo of Tom Selleck at PaleyFest NY 2014A fan carrying a signed photo of Tom Selleck at PaleyFest NY 2014 (Credit: Michael Carpenter / WENN / FayesVision)

Tom went on to marry Jillie Mack, an English-born actress who also had a part in Magnum P.I.

He fell for her while in London, filming his movie, “Lassiter.” At the time, Mack was appearing in the Broadway hit “Cat’s,” which Selleck kept returning to nightly to watch Mack perform.

Not long after, she was seen by his side at movie premieres and award ceremonies, and soon after, they were married in a very secret ceremony in 1987. They are still married to this day and have one daughter, Hannah.

Actor-producer Tom Selleck and his wife, actress Jillie Mack, graced the CBS' 'The Carol Burnett Show 50th Anniversary Special' at CBS Television City in Los Angeles, California, on October 4, 2017Actor-producer Tom Selleck and his wife, actress Jillie Mack, graced the CBS’ ‘The Carol Burnett Show 50th Anniversary Special’ at CBS Television City in Los Angeles, California, on October 4, 2017 (Credit: Michael Carpenter / WENN / FayesVision)

Selleck’s Triumph in Lawsuit Against The Globe and Its Apology

Selleck’s lawsuit against The Globe would prove to be successful. The magazine reportedly settled the $20 million lawsuit with Tom for an undisclosed amount.

The Globe also printed a retraction that stated, “By publishing the article, the Globe did not intend to express or imply that Tom Selleck is or ever was a homosexual, and the Globe apologizes to the extent that any statements made by any Globe editors concerning the article were construed to express or imply that Tom Selleck is or was a homosexual.”

Tom Selleck's 12-second kiss with Kevin Kline in In & Out, a 1997 American comedy film, in which he plays gay on-camera entertainment reporter Peter MalloyTom Selleck’s 12-second kiss with Kevin Kline in In & Out, a 1997 American comedy film, in which he plays gay on-camera entertainment reporter Peter Malloy (Credit: Michael Carpenter / WENN / FayesVision)

Tom Selleck continues to this day captivating his audience as New York City Police Commissioner Frank Reagan in the hit TV series “Blue Bloods.” CBS announced in March 2023 that the show had been renewed for season fourteen.

“I don’t think there is an end point,” Tom told People in a May 2020 interview about the American police procedural drama television series. “I think there is a lot of life in the show, as long as you let your characters grow and get older.”

Blue Bloods stars Tom Selleck as New York City Police Commissioner Frank ReaganBlue Bloods stars Tom Selleck as New York City Police Commissioner Frank Reagan (Credit: Michael Carpenter / WENN / FayesVision)

“There is an evolution. It started out as a character-driven show and it’s even more than that now. When you get to a point like this, and we certainly had it on [Magnum P.I.], the audience is really inside the main characters’ heads,” he added, referencing the 1980s series that made him a star.

Magnum, P.I. (CBS) Season 2 1981-1982: John Hillerman (as Jonathan Quayle Higgins III/Elmo/Father Patty McGinnis), Tom Selleck (as Thomas Sullivan Magnum III)Magnum, P.I. (CBS) Season 2 1981-1982: John Hillerman (as Jonathan Quayle Higgins III/Elmo/Father Patty McGinnis), Tom Selleck (as Thomas Sullivan Magnum III) (Credit: Michael Carpenter / WENN / FayesVision)

Although Selleck is 30-plus years post his Magnum P.I. days, he continues to exude an appeal that few have been able to duplicate, and his fans no doubt continue to appreciate.

Tom Selleck: Facts, Rumors, and Everything in Between

How much is Tom Selleck worth right now?Tom Selleck is an American actor and producer with an estimated net worth of $45 million.
What is Tom Selleck's real name?Tom Selleck's real name is Thomas William Selleck.
Born:January 29, 1945, in Detroit, MI
Who is Tom Selleck's lifelong partner?Tom Selleck has been married twice. His first marriage was to model Jacqueline Ray from 1971 to 1982. During their marriage, he adopted her son, Kevin Shepard. Jillie Mack is Selleck's second wife. They have been married since 1987 and have one daughter together, Hannah.
How many biological children does Tom Selleck have?Tom Selleck has one biological child. He adopted his first son, Kevin Shepard, from his first wife, Jacqueline Ray. Kevin was born in 1966. Selleck and Ray divorced in 1982.

In 1987, Selleck married Jillie Mack. They had their only biological child together, a daughter named Hannah, in 1988. Hannah is an equestrian and has competed in several international competitions.
Weight:194 lbs / 88 kg
Feet/Shoe Size:13 (US)
Height:Tom Selleck is widely reported to have a height of 6ft 3 (190.5 cm). It is believed Selleck's peak height was around 6ft 4 (193 cm).
Nationality:American
Source of Wealth:Selleck's net worth is largely due to his acting and producing work. He has also made a significant amount of money from endorsements and commercials. He is a spokesperson for several brands, including AT&T and Hanes.
Ethnicity/Race:Tom Selleck's ethnicity is a mix of English, Scottish, Irish, and German.

His father, Robert Selleck, was of English, Scottish, and Irish descent, while his mother, Martha Selleck, was of English descent.
Did Tom Selleck serve in Vietnam?Yes, Tom Selleck served in Vietnam. He was drafted into the California National Guard in 1967 and served until 1973. He was stationed at Fort Ord in California for most of his service, but he also did a tour of duty in Vietnam in 1968.
Was Tom Selleck a Navy SEAL in real life?No, Tom Selleck was not a Navy SEAL in real life. However, Selleck's role as Thomas Magnum in the television series Magnum, P.I. was a former Navy SEAL.

The character was inspired by Selleck's own experiences in the military, and he frequently wore a Navy SEAL trident on his uniform.
What is the age difference between Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg, who play father and son on the television show "Blue Bloods"?Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg are both actors who have appeared on the television show "Blue Bloods."

Tom Selleck portrays Frank Reagan, the police commissioner and patriarch of the Reagan family, while Donnie Wahlberg plays his son, Danny Reagan, who is a detective.

In terms of their actual age difference, Tom Selleck was born on January 29, 1945, while Donnie Wahlberg was born on August 17, 1969. This means there is a significant age gap of approximately 24 years between the two actors.

However, on Blue Bloods, Selleck's character, Frank Reagan, is only 15 years older than Wahlberg's character, Danny Reagan. This is because the show's creators wanted to create a believable father-son relationship, even though the actors are much older in real life.

Tom Selleck Quotes: Stand Up for America and Embrace Different Perspectives, Says Hollywood Icon

Stand up and pledge with me: A government of the United States is not on the auction block. And America is not for sale! – Tom Selleck

It’s not that conservatives don’t care. We do. We just have different answers than liberals do. It’s a difference of the mind, not of the heart. – Tom Selleck

I hate going to the gym, so sweating outdoors sure beats sitting on a stationary bike staring at my navel. – Tom Selleck

You know, there’s so much imitation and so much pandering in Hollywood. – Tom Selleck

Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg and Bridget Moynahan attend the "Blue Bloods" screening during PaleyFest NY 2017Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg, and Bridget Moynahan attend the “Blue Bloods” screening during PaleyFest NY 2017 at The Paley Center for Media on October 16, 2017, in New York City (Credit: Adam Nemser / Startraksphoto)

Which to this day is a source of enormous guilt, because I left with three classes to go in the business school to sign a contract with 20th Century Fox. – Tom Selleck

I’ve never reacted well to other people telling me what to do. – Tom Selleck

It is scary for an actor when you get hired as a lead. No matter what the plot is, it is your job to do something interesting enough to make them want to get inside the lead character’s head. – Tom Selleck

I feel the other element of a western is the land, which is very important in this movie. I mean the land is another character in the piece, actually. – Tom Selleck

I think a lot of Magnum was me. – Tom Selleck

Do you like my suit? I think this is an amazing suit, don’t you think? – Tom Selleck

I guess after Dances With Wolves they probably tried some derivative westerns, and if they didn’t work, they said the western is dead and moved on to something else. – Tom Selleck

Hopefully you marry someone who you not only love, but who you like as well. – Tom Selleck

In 1986, actor Tom Selleck was honored with the 1,827th star on the Hollywood Walk of FameIn 1986, actor Tom Selleck was honored with the 1,827th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (Credit: D-VISIONS / Shutterstock)

But, you know there’s a lot of westerns – not that they were bad – it’s just that they can be remade because they’re great stories that aren’t indelible in an audience’s mind when it comes to both the cast and the story. – Tom Selleck

People tracking your life and photographing you anywhere you go, that can make you crazy. – Tom Selleck

I’ve learned by hanging out in Hollywood, where I disagree politically with most people, that most people’s hearts are in the right place, and the only thing we have to argue about is the way to solve the problems. – Tom Selleck

I haven’t made a political statement in quite a long time because, frankly, they get repeated, changed. – Tom Selleck

There was a time I could have been mistaken for Burt Reynolds. I had a moustache and so did he. But he was the number one star in the world, so there wasn’t really much confusion. – Tom Selleck

I think character is real important. And you know, and I think the public does. – Tom Selleck

The Westerns I like aren’t really comedies. I’m drawn to the scope of them and the land as a central character. – Tom Selleck

I think there have been more movies in the Western genre than any other. I grew up watching those movies. – Tom Selleck

Good parts should always scare you a little bit, and good parts… you might not get advice to do them. – Tom Selleck

Son, never throw a punch at a redwood. – Tom Selleck

I think of myself as an actor first, not a sex symbol. Do I think I’m sexy? No, that’s someone else’s judgment, and I honestly don’t think you can try to be sexy and really succeed. – Tom Selleck

I had a strong, really good upbringing, not puritanical. – Tom Selleck

I don’t feel the obligation to have a big explosion in the first 20 seconds so the audience doesn’t turn on another channel. We are trying to make something that looks like a feature film that was bought for television and I think we are succeeding. – Tom Selleck

I don’t think you should do something just to prove to an audience that you can do it, that’s way out of your wheelhouse. – Tom Selleck

I praise CBS for taking a risk, which is always the price you pay for opportunity. This is not standard movie of the week storytelling. I think movies of the week have fallen into a niche and that isn’t my niche. – Tom Selleck

I realized I really liked the screen. I knew it was a challenge, but I wasn’t afraid of risk. – Tom Selleck

To me, the excitement is in ordering a fine shotgun, going through the process that everybody who has bought one has gone through for 100 years. You order it, you make a significant down payment, and then you wait three or four years for the gun to be custom-made for you. – Tom Selleck

I quit ‘Magnum’ to have a family. It took a long time to get off the train, but I try very hard to have balance, and this ranch has helped me do that. – Tom Selleck

Television’s grown up a lot. It’s a little more adult, which I think is a good thing. It allows actors to tell more complex stories. I’m happy to see where it ends up. – Tom Selleck

And besides, because of all she has accomplished, Barbara Jordan has always been a hero of mine. – Tom Selleck

Shooting clay targets is a very cleansing experience. It’s very relaxing. It takes a lot of concentration. It’s also very social, since you’re usually shooting with friends. You can talk and forget about almost anything else that’s on your mind. – Tom Selleck

Having had that experience… I think, what modern culture wants to see is the relationship with the woman. I don’t think you can tell a story on film nowadays where the woman simply is there for the man when he decides to settle down. – Tom Selleck

You know I grew up watching the TV series The Rifleman. – Tom Selleck

I live a pretty simple life. – Tom Selleck

If you buy an expensive thing and you never use it, I don’t think there’s a point to it. – Tom Selleck

I never try to pander to an audience, and I’m really not concerned with my image. I’m far more interested in stretching my abilities as an actor. – Tom Selleck

I think television has always been one to replicate when something’s successful. I don’t think there’s quite as much innovation. – Tom Selleck

My first priority is time with my family. – Tom Selleck

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