Thank you!!! The Children’s Hour is a powerful movie and no matter how many times I watch it I’m always a mess by the end. Shirley and Audrey gave strong, and like you said, brave performances. Audrey in the beginning was enthusiastic about filming The Children’s Hour, but the emotional tone and long days took a toll on her. It was very important that Sean and Mr. Famous (her Yorkshire Terrier) were on set with her every day to help improve her mood.
“It was not in Audrey’s character to complain, but the emotional content of the script and the slow pace were taking a toll on everyone. This was when Jim Garner was at his best. he had an off-the-wall humor, and when things got especially grim he would say something funny to break everyone up and literally save the day.” - Bob Willoughby
Audrey and Shirley were both disappointed that in the final version of the film many scenes showing the relationship between their two characters ended up on the cutting room floor.
“In the play, scenes were developed so that you could see Martha falling in love with Karen [but Wyler] thought they’d be too much for Middle America to take. I thought he was wrong, and I told him so, and Audrey was right behind me. But he was the director, and there was nothing we could do…" - Shirley MacLaine
Concerning your last question, so many of Audrey’s good friends and co-workers were gay. Hubert de Givenchy (?), Anthony Perkins, Cecil Beaton, George Cukor, and I’m sure the list goes on. I don’t think Audrey ever judged or criticized anyone based on their sexuality or personal preferences.
Edit: I nearly forgot! Here is a picture of Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor at a charity dinner for “Art against AIDS” in Basel, Switzerland. Liz was a good friend of Audrey’s and was a major player in the fight against AIDS and the rights of the LBGT community.
11 June 1991: Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn attend the charity dinner “Art against AIDS” in Basel, Switzerland.