pounds 3m deal with Eastwood leaves Locke happy

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Clint Eastwood settled a law suit brought by his former lover Sondra Locke yesterday for a reported $5m (pounds 3m).

Ms Locke, who claimed the 66-year-old actor and director used his Hollywood connections to wreck her career, was "very, very happy", her lawyer said. The case ended suddenly as a Los Angeles jury, after finding Mr Eastwood was indeed at fault, was about to consider the amount of damages.

Both sides decided amicably to set the matter behind them, a lawyer for Mr Eastwood said. Ms Locke, 49, met Mr Eastwood on the set of The Outlaw Josey Wales. She was his companion for 13 years and the couple co-starred in a series of films.

But after a bitter public break-up, Mr Eastwood told a removal company to take her belongings and put her, and her parrot, on the street, it was alleged.

She dropped a palimony suit against him after Warner Bros offered her a directing post worth $1.5m. But Mr Eastwood admitted in court last week that he had secretly agreed with a studio executive to finance the deal.

The jury apparently accepted Ms Locke's claim that Warner subsequently turned down 30 projects she offered over three years as a result of the sham deal, nipping her nascent career as a director in the bud.

One juror said they were prepared to award Ms Locke as much as $10m. She accused Mr Eastwood of fraud, intentional interference with her ability to earn a living and breaching his financial duty to her.

Ms Locke's lawyer told the court she had been humiliated and degraded and her future damaged.

Mr Eastwood has since married and won accolades for the films Unforgiven and In the Line of Fire. Ms Locke, by contrast, is at present being paid only $10,000 to direct a small independent film, and has barely worked in the last two years.