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Sooner than Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, Sondra Locke and Clint Eastwood’s Harrowing Courtroom Fight Dominated the Tabloids

Sooner than there used to be Depp v. Heard, there used to be Locke v. Eastwood. In 1989, actor Sondra Locke sued Clint Eastwood, her romantic accomplice of about 13 years, for palimony, and the tabloids went wild. It used to be a celeb bust up replete with accusations of abuse and wiretapping, the total…

Sooner than Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, Sondra Locke and Clint Eastwood’s Harrowing Courtroom Fight Dominated the Tabloids

Sooner than there used to be Depp v. Heard, there used to be Locke v. Eastwood. In 1989, actor Sondra Locke sued Clint Eastwood, her romantic accomplice of about 13 years, for palimony, and the tabloids went wild. It used to be a celeb bust up replete with accusations of abuse and wiretapping, the total more graceful because Locke and Eastwood had been seen as a golden couple, and had made six hit motion images together. Eastwood used to be 58 on the time of the lawsuit—the identical age Johnny Depp is now; Locke, who died in 2018, used to be 44. She said she thought Eastwood had ended their relationship in a funk of atrocious emotions “because he wasn’t #1 on the field situation of job anymore, or because he used to be going via his mortality,” as biographer Patrick McGilligan achieve it.

The similarities between the 2 conditions are striking—a younger, blond actor, viewed as a lesser skill, used to be pitted in opposition to a formidable male Hollywood icon—and so it looks uncommon that it hasn’t been mentioned in the reams of sizzling takes about Depp-Heard which beget persisted into this week, when their jury is set to transfer out for deliberations. 

JIM LO SCALZO/Getty Photos. 

However then, Eastwood-Locke took situation at a clear time in star custom, when star media consisted basically of People, the National Enquirer, and Neatly-known particular person. There wasn’t never-ending protection of the case in necessary newspapers or on the TV news; no lofty op-eds about its meaning. Though Locke battled Eastwood in court for 19 months—creating breast most cancers at some stage in the ordeal—the court lawsuits were no longer televised; her lawsuit came genuine earlier than the commence of Courtroom TV in 1991. Celeb used to be no longer yet the lens whereby we seem to transfer making an strive to search out genuine about all the things. 

And yet, the implications of the case were identical, in the sense that Locke arguably lost her career thanks to it, with out reference to claiming Eastwood had been abusive. At one point, she requested Retract Dana Senit Henry to retain Eastwood a ways flung from their Bel-Air dwelling “because I know him to beget a gruesome mood…and he has often been abusive to me.” (Eastwood denied her allegations.) However Locke’s abuse claims were no longer even the point of interest of the media protection, nor beget they stuck to Eastwood. What of us regarded as if it could perchance maybe well maybe care most about used to be the money. 

Locke’s daring to quiz for palimony regarded as if it could perchance maybe well maybe strike some as untoward, since she used to be peaceable married to her childhood friend Gordon Anderson, who used to be homosexual (they’d a platonic relationship). And palimony itself—often wrongly depicted in those days as one method for females to bilk hard-working males—used to be a sizzling-button tell at a time of height backlash in opposition to the females’s circulate. (Susan Faludi’s feminist classic Backlash: The Undeclared War In opposition to American Girls individuals came out in 1991, exposing a media-driven intention of blaming the victim and the feminist circulate itself for females’s oppression.) When Locke died in 2018 of cardiac arrest precipitated by bone and breast most cancers, cruel commenters on-line called her a “gold digger,” and Jezebel criticized The Hollywood Reporter for running an obituary that referred to her in its long-established headline as an “embittered ex,” and regarded as if it could perchance maybe well maybe painting her as “money-grubbing.”

Within the interim, Locke used to be a racy artist—no longer genuine an actor but a director, producer, and singer. In 1986, she directed a weird and wonderful humorous dismay flick, Ratboy, which used to be hailed by French critics on the Deauville American Film Festival. Years earlier than she met Eastwood, she used to be nominated for an Academy Award for most efficient supporting actress for her role in The Coronary heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968). It shall be argued that Eastwood’s midlife success—which comprised one of the necessary perfect-grossing photos of his career as much as that point, together with the orangutan-buddy motion-comedy Every Which Capacity However Free (1978)—used to be due in no minute piece to his steamy onscreen chemistry with Locke. 

They started relationship in 1975 on the converse of The Outlaw Josey Wales, while he used to be peaceable married, as successfully, to his first wife, Maggie Johnson. Locke wrote in her autobiography, The Correct, the Unfavourable, & the Very Grotesque, that her enchantment to Eastwood used to be instantaneous and strong, and that he oldschool to inform to her, “She made me monogamous.” That didn’t forestall him from cheating on her, on the opposite hand, as successfully as secretly fathering two adolescents with one other girl, Jacelyn Reeves, in the gradual ‘80s, while he and Locke were peaceable together. Locke, in the interim, alleged in her palimony suit that Eastwood had pressured her beget two abortions as successfully as a tubal ligation, or sterilization surgical operation. (Eastwood denied these allegations.)  

To fetch the meaning of Eastwood-Locke, one maybe has to see at how the case used to be resolved, and the subsequent lawsuit Locke brought forth thanks to it. In 1990, Locke and Eastwood arrived at a settlement that included a $1.5 million pattern-and-directing deal at Warner Brothers that Eastwood converse up for her in alternate for her losing her palimony suit. Within the ensuing years, on the opposite hand, Locke became suspicious when, she said, bigger than 30 tasks she brought to the studio were rejected. So she sued over again, this time accusing Eastwood of fraud and breach of financial accountability. Her lawyer, Peggy Garrity, argued that the deal Eastwood had struck with Locke used to be bogus—a technique to glean Locke to support off from her palimony suit, as successfully as to retain her from working. 

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