Table of Contents Hide
Paul Reubens is an American actor and comedian. His iconic depiction of the role, Pee-wee, endeared many to him and earned him a lot of fans.
The actor’s career, however, hit a snag in 1991 after being arrested for indecent exposure at a movie theater. Still, Reubens managed to pick himself up and put the pieces of his life back together.
This included resuming his role as the ever-happy and charismatic Pee-wee in different Pee-wee franchises and starring in other notable movies such as Mystery Man and Blow.
Nonetheless, fans have wondered if Paul Reubens is gay or straight for the longest time. So, is Paul Reubens gay?
We’re here to answer that very question. But before we do, let’s take a brief look at the 70-year-old’s background and career.
Paul Rubenfeld, also known as Paul Reubens, was born on the 27th of August 1952. He was raised in Peekskill, New York, with his siblings, Luke and Abby Rubenfeld.
His mother, Judy Rosen, was a school teacher, while his father, Milton Rubenfeld, was an automobile salesperson. Together, his parents ran a shop.
Reubens spent most of his childhood in Oneonta, New York. As a child, he would attend circus shows.
The showbiz star would later reveal that these shows influenced him greatly.
Furthermore, Rubens attended Sarasota High School, where he was named the president of the National Thespian Society. He was also accepted into Northwestern University’s summer program for gifted high-school students.
He featured in plays whilst there.
Reubens didn’t stop at high school. He furthered his education by enrolling at the University of Boston.
The talented comic’s passion for acting drove him into auditioning for notable acting schools such as Juilliard and Carnegie-Mellon. Unfortunately, he was turned down in both institutions.
But that didn’t stop or slow him down. And he eventually got accepted after applying to the California Institute of the Arts.
On getting into the institute, Reubens moved to California and began his career there. He started performing in comedy shows and starred in smaller productions before the invention of Pee-wee Herman.
Pee-wee, the role that shot Reubens to stardom, was created by Reubens and Phil Hartman during an improvisation exercise.
In 1981, Reubens began the Pee-wee Herman Show, which ran for 3 years. The success of the show earned Rubens two feature films and a five-season cartoon series, all around the character, Pee-wee.
The character also appeared on three covers of Rolling Stone, had a franchise of toys, clothes, etc., and even got a book publish.
However, Pee-wee wasn’t all there was to Paul Reubens. The actor has also starred in other movies, including Madame’s Place, Lily for President, Sesame Street, and Back to the Beach.
What’s more, he’s featured in reality shows like Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, and the 42nd Golden Globe Awards. He also appeared on a few WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) shows.
Why People Assume Paul Reubens Is Gay
Most people assume Reubens is gay because of his portrayal of the fictional queer character Pee-wee Herman.
Pee-wee’s character has what many refer to as a feminine boyish persona. He oscillates between an effeminate gay man and an asexual man-child.
In Netflix’s Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, Pee-wee Herman, played by Reubens, is smitten by a buff and very handsome Joe Manganiello, who plays himself.
It is not hard to detect the sexual undertones in the movie and the not-so-subtle message being passed across.
Aside from Pee-wee’s clear admiration of Manganiello, the character develops something of a crush on the hunky actor.
He expresses his desire for “friendship” with him in fantasies where the two jousts on what appear to be giant piñatas; meanwhile, fireworks explode in the background.
After watching the movie, one might conclude that the comic swings for the other team.
However, it may be problematic to draw conclusions about his sexuality from his role in a movie alone.
Still, there’s also the fact that Reubens himself admitted to having a collection of homosexual vintage erotica.
Are The Rumors True? Is Paul Reubens Gay?
Although Paul Reubens has a history with women, he has never openly talked about his sexuality. He has neither denied nor confirmed the gay rumors.
So, we can’t say for a fact that the showbiz star is or isn’t queer. However, his dating history seems to tell a story that he is straight.
He was once married, and he even dated a fellow Hollywood star. We’ll discuss these relationships in depth in the following sections.
Are Paul Reubens and Joe Manganiello Together?
No, Paul Reubens and Joe Manganiello are not together. At least, not in real life.
On the Pee-wee show, Reubens and Manganiello share some sort of ‘bromance’, making many speculate on the possibility of a relationship between them.
However, their ‘chemistry’ is reserved for the screens alone and does not apply to real life.
Reubens has had a history with women. And two of the most prominent include Chandi Heffner and Debi Mazar.
In 1989, Reubens got married to Chandi Heffner, the adopted daughter of Doris Duke. Many referred to the wedding as a hoax.
Rumor has it that the wedding was fake or a plain distraction from Reubens’s sexuality. This is because the wedding took place shortly after rumors of Reubens’s sexuality began to grow.
Reubens and Heffner exchanged vows at Duke’s Hawaiian mansion. However, they separated after a while.
They didn’t have children together, and details of their separation remain unclear to date.
Following his separation from Heffner, Reubens met Debi Mazar. This happened in 1993, a time Reubens referred to as a low time in his life.
According to the 70-year-old, Mazar helped him overcome depression.
Mazar is an actress and television personality with notable roles in movies like Goodfellas, Malcolm X, and Entourage.
The pair dated for 6 years before getting engaged in 1994.
Unfortunately, the two split up before they got a chance to walk down the aisle, but they have remained friends ever since.
Neither talked about the reason for their breakup, and no one knows why they actually broke up till date.
There are no reports of a current relationship.
However, it is possible that the showbiz star is in a relationship with someone special.
He is fond of keeping his life away from the media. And it wouldn’t come as a surprise if he is actually in a relationship.
Nevertheless, we can’t confirm anything till he says so himself.
Was Paul Reubens married?
Some people believe that Paul Reubens was once married to Chandi Heffner while others believe that he never married. Generally, he kept his personal life away from the public eye.
What was Paul Reubens’ net worth?
Up till his death in July 2023, Paul Reubens had an estimated net worth of $5 million. His wealth came primarily from his acting roles.
Is Paul Reubens dead?
Sadly, yes. Paul Reubens passed away on July 30, 2023, at the age of 70 from an unknown type of cancer disease.
What was the cause of Paul Reuben’s death?
Paul Reubens died from cancer. However, the type of cancer is yet to be identified.
Paul Reubens’ sexual orientation has been a topic of speculation due to his private nature. However, there is no concrete evidence to suggest that he was gay. He never publicly disclosed his sexual orientation, and the rumors likely began without a factual basis.
Reubens did have some legal issues in the past, but these incidents were unrelated to his sexual orientation. He had relationships with women, including a marriage to Chandi Heffner and a well-known involvement with actress Debi Mazar, which points to a heterosexual orientation.
Ultimately, Reubens’ sexual orientation remains a private matter, and any claims about him being gay are unfounded.