Clint Eastwood may be one of the most iconic Spaghetti Western actors alive, but his personal life was far from perfect, especially his relationship with actress Sondra Locke.
Eastwood started earning the reputation of a seducer in the ’50s when he was still married to swimsuit model Maggie Johnson. Before making it big in the entertainment industry, he used to rely on Johnson’s money to get by.
Still, he would frequently cheat on his wife with different women on and off movie sets. She knew about the affairs but stayed silent. According to Eastwood’s high school friend and business associate, he would also physically harm Johnson.
Karen Sharpe, who worked with Eastwood in “Rawhide,” revealed that one of his “girlfriends” would visit him at lunch every day they filmed.
Apart from that, the actor also had an affair with Jane Brolin. She supposedly got pregnant, and Eastwood talked her into going to Mexico to get an abortion as their affair would damage his career and marriage if it was ever discovered.
The former couple finally divorced in 1984. By the time, Eastwood had already been in a relationship with Locke, an actress and filmmaker 20 years hir junior, for nine years.
Eastwood and Locke met while working together on the 1976 movie “The Outlaw Josey Wales.” She later confessed that they fell in love at first sight even though they were both married.
Her marriage was more of a façade as her husband was Gordon Anderson, a gay man. It has also been reported that Eastwood himself chose Locke to be his love interest in the movie.
The following year, Eastwood and Locke worked together again in “The Gauntlet.” He had no intent in hiding their relationship from his wife or the media as they were frequently spotted together at parties and with his children.
Manes said that Eastwood was completely in love with Locke for the first four years of their relationship. However, he never showed any interest in starting a family with her and even cheated on her.
Things complicated in 1978 when Locke got pregnant. Given that he was still married to Johnson, Eastwood told his mistress that the time was not right for them to have children and persuaded her to terminate the pregnancy.
Just like what Brolin did, Locke agreed and got an abortion. The following year, she got pregnant again, and he pressured her to have an abortion again. Locke later claimed he also persuaded her into having a tubal ligation (sterilization).
After over a decade together, Eastwood started drifting away from the relationship. Instead of breaking things up with Locke face to face, he just stopped paying attention to her and turned to other women.
To end their relationship for good, Eastwood changed the locks of the Bel-Air house he had previously gifted Locke, gathered all her belongings, and left them in storage.
Eastwood probably never expected that Locke would’ve taken matters to court to file a palimony suit. In her written statement, the actress detailed how he kicked her out of the house.
One week before changing the locks, Eastwood complained that Locke was “sitting” on his only property in Los Angeles and wanted her to move.
Since she was filming her second movie, “Impulse,” at the time, she asked him to hold off their breakup conversation until she finished shooting the film. He initially agreed and told Locke to put that topic in the back of her head.
A week later, she got a letter from his lawyers informing her about the changed locks and her belongings. As a result, she sued him for breach of contract, emotional distress, among other claims.
Locke requested to keep the Bel-Air house and another property in the Hollywood Hills that Eastwood supposedly gave her as gifts. She also included her two abortions and sterilization in her declaration.
In response, Eastwood claimed she told him she never wanted to have kids. About the abortions, he said he left the decision to her — either continue or terminate the pregnancies, it was all up to her.
One year later, Locke dropped the suit after Eastwood supposedly duped her into doing so in exchange for a three-year development deal to direct films for Warner Bros.
After dropping the case, Locke was paid $1.5 million and received an office on the Warner Bros. studio lot but never worked on a film. She also revealed Warner Bros. rejected more than 30 projects she pitched.
In 1996, she accused Eastwood of fraud and intentionally interfering with her career. The actress discovered it was Eastwood who paid the money to create a dead-end for her career.
That case was not a walk in the park as she couldn’t convince people in the movie industry to testify for her. Eastwood defended himself by claiming he used his fame and contacts to secure a deal for his former partner with nothing but good intentions.
Still, she was seeking over $2 million in damages. When the actor took the stand, he confessed he never told Locke that the $1.5 million she received came from him, not the studio.
The case was settled out of court before the jury completed a verdict. In 1997, Locke published an autobiography titled “The Good, the Bad & the Very Ugly” People expected it to have many more details of her and Eastwood’s relationship. However, it was filled with information about her life.
Nowadays, Eastwood is 91 years old and still working. His latest film is “Cry Macho,” which he directed, produced, and starred in. As per Locke, she died in 2018 at 74. Rest in peace.