The Oscar-nominated actress went through heartbreak and suffered a career downfall while dating Clint Eastwood. It left her broken.
What are the key ingredients of a perfect and happy relationship? Loyalty, trust, open communication, and the little things done for each other, all together make the perfect brew of a healthy relationship. But sometimes, even all of this cannot stop a relationship from turning sour over time. One such example is Clint Eastwood's relationship with Sondra Locke. Their 13 years of a tumultuous relationship was never all rainbows and unicorns.
Soon Locke opened up about her turbulent relationship and the unpleasant experience she had with the veteran actor in a report by People. She described it as "Humiliation, mental anguish... severe emotional and physical distress and... mental and physical harm."
The two fell head over heels for each other on the sets of the Civil War-set The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), according to The Hollywood Reporter. The couple soon moved into a Bel-Air mansion where they spent 14 years together. And that was just the beginning of the end.
According to The Guardian, her relationship with Eastwood was one of the most toxic relationships with an ugly and messy overlap of personal and professional life. In a report by The Sun, Locke claimed that during her time with Eastwood, he made her undergo two abortions since he believed that their lifestyles weren't suitable to raise children. She also underwent a sterilization operation called the tubal ligation while dating Eastwood.
The actress, who was nominated for the best-supporting actress Oscar for her performance in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, opened up about all the aspects of living with a controlling man in her autobiography. The title The Good, the Bad and the Very Ugly: A Hollywood Journey was a play on one of Eastwood's films. Locke revealed that Eastwood even insisted on her working with him alone just like he insisted on her using a "natural" method of birth control as he was against birth control pills. But naturally, it failed to work twice.
She wrote, "Clint complained of the IUD – it was uncomfortable for him, he said. And he too was not in favor of birth control pills, so he suggested a special clinic at Cedars Hospital where they taught a 'natural' method of birth control."
She further revealed, "It was the same 'rhythm' system that historically has been used to determine the fertile days for those who are attempting to achieve pregnancy. Of course, it could be used for the opposite results as well. Not only was I taught their method but I was constantly monitored with regular pregnancy checks."
Though the whole process looked incredibly questionable, Locke sidelined all her suspicions and went ahead with the process. She stated, "The whole process was awkward and entailed taking my temperature every morning and marking the calendar, etc. It was demanding and ultimately it had failed twice," Since there are no 100 percent guarantees to birth controls, the systems failed and Locke was forced to get two of her pregnancies aborted.
Even after suffering through all these traumatizing events, finding out about Eastwood's betrayal was the last straw in their whirlpool of a relationship. Locke was left heartbroken and in shock when she found that Eastwood not only cheated on her with Jacelyn Reeves but also was a father of two children.
According to People, their relationship had reached a stage of no possible return. Things got so ugly that while the actress was away at work, he got all the locks to the mansion changed to prevent her from entering. Radar Online reported that he got all her possessions inaccessible and locked up in a storage unit including her clothes, cars, and parrot.
Locke was notified about this action through a letter while she was working. Disturbed by the news, the actress could not work, reported People.
Having experienced the emotional turmoil for 14 years, Locke finally filed a lawsuit against the actor. But this wasn't the end of her sufferings. During the lawsuit, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Instead of running through the long fight, she had to end the case with a settlement of $1.5 million and a three-year contract to work with Warner Bros, according to Radar Online. Unfortunately, the deal with Warner Bros did not work out as expected and thus began the downfall of her career. Locke believed Eastwood to be the cause and accused him of meddling with the deal.
In 1995, the actress sued Eastwood again, accusing him of interfering with her career and breaching his financial duty. She claimed that he was always in the way of her making her own money. According to Radar Online, after the case was settled for $2.5 million, in 1996, the actress claimed that she never fought for the money. "The suit was never about money, it was about my fighting for my professional rights," she said. She saw it as a happy ending after "five years of torture."
The actress who starred in many films with Eastwood and spent 14 years with him, lost her battle to stem and breast cancer at 74, suffering a cardiac arrest at the L.A home on November 3, 2018.