Siegfried and Roy

Are they set to let gay cat out of the bag?

Are Siegfried and Roy finally ready to tell all about their secret, private life together?

That's the word from insiders, who say the Las Vegas showmen are quietly shopping around a joint tell-all memoir expected to command a seven-figure price tag.

"They're meeting with top publishers in the coming weeks," says one insider. "It's all very hush-hush, but apparently, they're going to tell everything about their private and professional lives. We're very excited about it."

"Listen, I'm sure this whole tragic accident with Roy has taught them both that life is too short," says one source who knows the showmen. "Knowing them, I'm sure they figured now is as good a time as any to get their story out, while both are still able to. It's just that simple."

An honest and open account of their personal lives would have to address the widespread rumors that have dogged them for years - that they were gay lovers.

In fact, Roy Horn, 60, and Siegfried Fischbacher, 65, had lived together for years at their Jungle Palace compound - the eight-acre Vegas estate where the tigers roamed free.

"The way they. deal with the perception of them as a couple is as much sleight-of-hand as their act," close pal Shirley MacLaine once remarked. "I mean, they used to be lovers a long time ago, yeah. In this day and age, who cares?"

But both have been forced to openly address the talk that they were secretly married aboard the ocean liner where they first met in 1960. A billionaire entertainment mogul swears that they were married aboard the Bremen, according to an article in Vanity Fair.

Gay icons

"Listen, when we were on the ship, at that time, if you had just mentioned we had gotten married, they would have thrown us off the ship, you know what I mean," Siegfried told the reporter. Many people say, 'Oh, Siegfried and Roy, this is almost like a marriage and the animals are the kids.'"

And it response to reports they are gay icons, the illusionist said, "Well, I am very honored. If I am an icon to them, it is wonderful, because gay people are always loyal."

Yet, before the shocking tiger attack that nearly cost Roy his life in October 2003, the amazing duo seemed to have grown apart, say sources.

"For the longest time, no two men could be closer than Siegfried and Roy," says a source. "But in recent years, that relationship became very strained. They argued constantly and just couldn't see eye-to-eye.

"The more they were together, the worse it got. At times, they couldn't even mention each other's names without being visibly bitter."

At one point, they even lived in separate sections of their ornately decorated Vegas home.

"They basically agreed to two separate lives," the source says. "They only got together for their show and for an occasional public appearance - and that's the way they liked it."

'Emotional wreck'

But the two men apparently put aside their differences during Roy's heroic battle to survive the onstage attack by their 600-pound white tiger Montecore. And, while Roy remains severely handicapped, the two have continued to make appearances together. The possible book deal just adds another chapter to their partnership of more than 40 years.

"Siegfried is an emotional wreck over what happened to Roy," says another source. "I think this accident brought it all home to him. "Siegfried recognizes how much he deeply cares about Roy. The only thing he wants is Roy's recovery."

-RICK HAYDAN

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