What We Know About Clint Eastwood's Philandering Past

On September 17, 2021, the film "Cry Macho" was released in theaters. As reported by Parade, the Clint Eastwood-directed film stars Eastwood himself as the main character who has to come to terms with aging out of a masculine persona he no longer embodies. In a way, the film is Eastwood's reckoning with his macho man past, being the lead star of many hypermasculine-driven spaghetti westerns like "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" and "A Fistful of Dollars," and in a more contemporary vein, his "Dirty Harry" Callahan character (via IMDb). 

At an advanced age, the actor may have regrets and introspection, as many people are wont to do. However, this reckoning seems a bit contradictory, given that the man himself has been less than faithful in his relationships with women in his past. As Ireland's Independent says, Eastwood seems to have had as many affairs as his body could handle. How can reckoning follow a life of betrayal and adultery?

Who is Clint Eastwood?

Eastwood grew up in the Great Depression era and also served in the Korean War. Britannica says he took up acting soon after his army discharge and got early work with small parts in movies like "Revenge of the Creature," "Tarantula," and the like until his contract ended. Like many actors, Eastwood had a somewhat slow start breaking into the industry, but eventually found his first big role in "Rawhide," a western TV series that ran from 1959 to 1965. It was during this time that Eastwood's hard man persona that he would eventually come to fully embody began to materialize. Making the leap from American TV to spaghetti westerns directed by Sergio Leone catapulted him to stardom.

He became one of the most successful actors of his time, mostly in films involving more action than dialog. Eastwood didn't rest on his acting laurels, however; he also took up directing. Per IMDb, he'd direct notable movies such as "Cry Macho," "American Sniper," "Million Dollar Baby," and more. He earned best director and best picture Oscars for "Unforgiven" in 1993 and "Million Dollar Baby" in 2005.

Clint Eastwood had a secret love child

To say that Eastwood lived a fairly complicated life is an understatement. Despite being married, the actor got around a lot in his time, sleeping with many women. As Daily Mail reported in 2018, Eastwood kept a few secrets, like him fathering a secret love child by the name of Laurie Murray. It all started before Eastwood and Maggie Johnson got married in 1953. Eastwood had fallen in love with Murray's mother at the time, and the two developed a very serious relationship. Eastwood was engaged at the time to Maggie Johnson but did not tell her about this affair. Murray's birth mother put her up for adoption.

According to Newsner, neither Murray nor Eastwood reportedly knew their connection until years later, when Murray sought to discover who her biological father was. She and an investigator eventually found paperwork that had Eastwood's name on it, cementing the relationship.

Clint Eastwood frequently slept with fellow actresses

Just how far did Eastwood take his philandering? As the Independent says, Karen Sharpe, an actress from the TV series "Rawhide," which starred Eastwood, said that there was a woman on set almost every day who was there to sleep with him. "There was a girlfriend with a job that ensured she'd be there every day. She didn't seem to have any work in particular, other than being with Clint at lunch,” Sharpe said. 

Sondra Locke was an actress who starred in a few Eastwood movies such as "Sudden Impact" and "The Outlaw Josey Wales" (via IMDb). She also had a notable live-in relationship with Eastwood, which fell apart and culminated in a court battle between the two. As reported by Vanity Fair, Locke got into a lawsuit with Eastwood back in 1989 for palimony. The lawsuit eventually ended in a $1.5 million settlement. 

Eastwood's relationship with Sondra Locke was toxic

Eastwood and Locke had a relatively long relationship, until that all fell apart, followed by the lawsuit. It seems that the relationship not only soured, but actually became quite toxic. As The Guardian says, Locke was a fairly accomplished and charismatic actor of her own, who had performed in numerous movies, frequently with Eastwood. She and Eastwood had met when Locke was already in a platonic marriage with Gordon Leigh Anderson, her childhood friend, sculptor who was also gay. 

Reportedly, Eastwood had manipulated her, as he promised her a project-development deal, which ended up being fraud. This was what the second lawsuit was about, as she alleged that Eastwood had only set that deal up to get the palimony suit thrown under the rug. As the Los Angeles Times reports, Eastwood's wife at the time, Maggie Johnson, had finally decided to get a divorce with the actor in 1977, during which Eastwood and Locke had been working together. And though not known with absolute certainty, the relationship with Locke might have been the proverbial last straw in that marriage (per Wide Open Country). In her palimony suit (per the Los Angeles Times), Locke alleged that Eastwood had "a terrible temper ... and he has frequently been abusive to me."

Someone once challenged Eastwood to a duel over a woman

In general, when people hear the word duel, they tend to think of either the wild west or Victorian gentlemen with top hats and pistols. Perhaps even Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. As Britannica explains, a duel is essentially an old-timey way of settling disputes outside of the court system. It involves two or more people armed with weapons, whether it be guns or swords or something else, and a fight, sometimes resulting in the death of one or both parties. Nor was dueling the exclusive right of men.

Turns out that modern duels might still happen. Eastwood actually almost got involved in a duel, believe it or not, over an affair with a woman. As East Bay Times reports, Eastwood and actress Jean Seberg had gotten romantically involved in the 1960s, being co-stars in the musical "Paint Your Wagon." Despite the fact that both were married to other people, they continued on with the affair. Seberg eventually cut it off with her husband Romain Gary, a French novelist and diplomat, who took great offense and challenged Eastwood to a duel. The duel itself never actually happened, however, and Gary basically moved on with his life.