RuPaul reveals big secrets in “House of Hidden Meanings” book, from Madonna to nearly colliding with fighter jet

Mama Ru covers it all — "Supermodel," addiction, having sex with a man named John Wayne, Aretha Franklin accidentally calling him "Ruth Paul" — in new memoir.

You already knew RuPaul as the Emmy-winning host of RuPaul's Drag Race, the First Lady of Drag, and a pop icon who done already done had herses when it comes to influencing culture with her hit song "Supermodel" and gender-bending take on celebrity; but, as his new memoir The House of Hidden Meanings reveals, there's a world of fabulous secrets hiding under Mother's sky-high wig.

Deliberately sashaying away from Mama Ru's tenure at the center of his reality TV juggernaut (he even shies away from referencing Michelle Visage, his longtime friend and fellow judge, even once) The House of Hidden Meanings centers on the first 40 years of the 63-year-old's life, from his upbringing in San Diego to his first high-heeled steps in professional drag in Atlanta — and eventual superstardom as the "Supermodel of the World" following his move to New York City.

In its pages, The House of Hidden Meanings is both a philosophical ode to perseverance and a juicy revelation, with piping-hot tea on everything from icy celebrity interactions to admitted missteps in RuPaul's life and career — but not without poignant observations about how he overcame them.

Of the many secrets RuPaul reveals in the book, he shifts from dropping hilarious tidbits about his childhood (like the time her survived a near-collision with fighter jets, or the time he fired an Uzi into an empty field) to heavy topics on life, sex, and relationships, including a moment he suggests he was groomed by a counselor at a gay center, substance abuse, and his tumultuous early relationship with his now-husband, Georges LeBar.

<p>Moenkebild/ullstein bild via Getty Images; Dey Street Books</p>

Moenkebild/ullstein bild via Getty Images; Dey Street Books

And then, there are the shady moments you'd expect from a drag queen — like his recollection of meeting Madonna for the first time at the Pyramid club in New York, where he alleges she met him with "derision" (EW has reached out to Madonna for comment) through to his revelation that he was once fired from a Robert Palmer music video for doing quaaludes.

Read on for all of the highlights from Mama Ru's new memoir, The House of Hidden Meanings, which is available now.

Best moments from RuPaul's 'House of Hidden Meanings' book

  • An iconic lyric from RuPaul's 2014 song "Sissy That Walk" — which was also used as the Drag Race runway theme for seasons 6 and 7 — where Ru sings "If they ain't paying your bills, pay them bitches no mind" was a phrase first said by his mother, Ernestine Charles.

  • Without his father's mistress, Betty, Ru might not have had the career he does today as RuPaul revealed that Betty's daughter worked at Warner Bros., and Betty later took him to the studio lot for the first time — a moment that helped inspire him to pursue a career.

  • As a teen, RuPaul worked for a car salesman who owned a Cessna. He once went up in the air with his boss, who had to take the plane "into a nosedive" to avoid "two Air Force jets heading directly toward" them, Ru writes.

  • RuPaul's took his first stage in drag while a student at Atlanta's Northside School of Performing Arts as Queenie in a school adaptation of Tennessee Williams' Camino Real.

  • While hanging out with friends at a "wide field," a teenage RuPaul fired an Uzi into the open air. "I braced myself into the ground and fired, scattering bullets across the field. It was the best feeling I had ever felt; it was so easy, so compact. It held so much force," Ru writes.

  • Though Ru doesn't use the phrase explicitly, he suggests that, while underage, he was groomed by a 36-year-old counselor named Andrew at a gay center. Ru notes that Andrew asked to kiss him after a session, which marked Ru's first "real kiss." Andrew eventually told Ru that they had to wait until Ru was 18 before having sex.

  • RuPaul had sex with a man named John Wayne. Not that John Wayne, but Ru does recall that, at age 19, Ru was catcalled on the street by the navy man, who eventually cited religious beliefs when telling Ru that they couldn't see each other anymore.

  • A woman named Chrissy, who Ru worked with on his first public access TV show, The American Music Show, developed feelings for him and wanted Ru to be her boyfriend. But, when he rejected her, "she left dog s--- on the hood" of his car.

  • Ru reveals that he discovered his legendary catchphrase, "We're all born naked, and the rest is drag," after his then-boyfriend, Mark, recalled that he heard another Atlanta drag queen, Lakesha Lucky, say it on stage.

  • RuPaul named his short-lived rock band, Wee Wee Pole, after a phallic-looking pillow he found in a bandmate's mother's living room.

  • One of his first rounds of self-promotional posters touted Ru's act with the words "RUPAUL IS RED HOT," a quote he'd later use as the title for a song, "Ruby Is Red Hot," performed by his drag queen character on Netflix's AJ and the Queen.

  • Madonna allegedly looked at Ru with "a snarl of contempt at the sight" of him at the Pyramid club in New York City, with Ru remembering that he felt "her derision" of him in the moment. "I felt intuitively that, in an instant, she had sized me up and seen that I had noting of value to provide her," Ru writes. "In clocking me as a eunuch, I became worthless to her."

  • RuPaul first met eventual Drag Race co-creator and World of Wonder producer Randy Barbato at the Marriot Marquis in New York City, and writes that "something extraordinary happened" when he gazed upon Barbato: "I saw my own future. It was as if he was seeing in me all of my true potential. His eyes were a mirror, illuminating to me what was possible for my life."

  • RuPaul says he attempted to avoid famed '80s club icon and Party Monster inspiration Michael Alig — who died in 2020 after serving jail time over the death of Club Kid Angel Melendez — after witnessing him skip out on cab fare, and later spitting in Ru's mouth after allegedly demanding that Ru kiss him to collect a fee for a go-go dancing gig.

  • RuPaul remembers getting fired from a Robert Palmer music video because he was on quaaludes.

  • Ernestine Charles, RuPaul's mother, died on April 25, 1993 — the same day he was on stage performing his iconic set at the March on Washington for queer community rights.

  • Ru hilariously reveals that the late Aretha Franklin once mistakenly paid him with a check written out to "Ruth Paul."

Subscribe to EW's Quick Drag podcast for recaps of RuPaul's Drag Race, including reactions from the cast, special guests, and more.

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Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.