The Decades-Long Affair That Rocked Clint Eastwood's First Marriage

Clint Eastwood isn't exactly the poster boy for monogamy. Eastwood has fathered an unknown number of children, as he was never keen on discussing the issue. "I have a few," Eastwood responded when 60 Minutes' Steve Kroft asked him how many he had. The multi-hyphenated Hollywood legend reportedly has six daughters and two sons, whom he produced with six different women. Of all of them, Eastwood was married to only two. 

His youngest, Morgan, was born in December 1996, just a few months after Eastwood married news anchor Dina Ruiz. They divorced in 2013. The only other children by one of Eastwood's two wives were born more than two decades earlier. Eastwood welcomed Kyle and Alison in 1968 and 1972, respectively, with his first wife, Maggie Johnson. Eastwood met Johnson, then a college student, on a blind date in May 1953 before he found fame with the release of "Rawhide" in 1959. Eastwood and Johnson tied the knot months after, in December 1953.

Just two months later, Eastwood fathered a daughter, though he didn't learn about it until the late '80s. The rest of us were none the wiser until 2018. By the time Laurie Murray connected with her biological father, he had officially divorced Johnson. As such, the affair that produced his love child didn't directly affect his marriage. But that wasn't the only affair he had while married to Johnson. And unlike the one with Murray's mother, this other caused major issues for a long time.

Roxanne Tunis was Clint Eastwood's 'primary girlfriend'

Six years into his marriage to Maggie Johnson, Clint Eastwood met Roxanne Tunis through a mutual friend. They hit it off and entered into a relationship that became as real as any relationship could be — despite his legal marital status. It's unclear what exactly Johnson knew about the affair her husband had with the stuntwoman and actor, but she reportedly accepted she was in an "open" marriage. "[She's] a woman who knows how much room I need," Eastwood once told Playboy, according to Richard Schickel's "Clint Eastwood: A Biography."

But that doesn't mean Johnson was happy about that arrangement. "I could tell that she was suffering dreadfully, particularly when Clint's primary girlfriend, Roxanne Tunis, a beautiful, statuesque stuntwoman, openly canoodled with him on the set," Barbara Eden, who guest starred in a 1963 "Rawhide" episode, wrote in her 2011 memoir, "Jeannie Out of the Bottle." Eastwood and Tunis reportedly maintained their relationship until 1973. During their 14-year affair, Tunis even had Eastwood's first acknowledged child, Kimber, in June 1964.

While Schickel contends that Tunis kept the pregnancy and the birth from Eastwood, biographer Patrick McGilligan claims in "Clint: The Life and Legend" that he actually knew and was excited to have a child with her. He was reportedly involved in Kimber's upbringing, though she has given conflicting accounts regarding the extent of their father-daughter relationship. Eastwood and Johnson separated a few years after the end of his relationship with Tunis, McGilligan wrote

Clint Eastwood reportedly took Roxanne Tunis' death hard

Even though Clint Eastwood and Roxanne Tunis had largely gone their separate ways, the two are said to have continued to respect each other. "Roxanne was one of Clint's true loves," a source told Radar in August, after news of Tunis' death at 93 the previous June surfaced. "He maintained a healthy relationship with Roxanne until the end, and is devastated by the loss and for his daughter Kimber." Eastwood reached out to Kimber to send his condolences. "He is just as sad as I am," she told Radar in an email.

The death of his ex reportedly hit Eastwood harder than he expected. "He started feeling things he wasn't used to," a source told the Daily Mail. It forced him to face the impermanence of human existence. "Her loss not only gutted him but also made him think more about his mortality, which he never does." But it wasn't all negative. "He is now cherishing moments a lot more since her passing," the source added. "He now knows some things in life can happen that he can't change but he can certainly learn from them."

Eastwood had always admired Tunis' mindset, which often drove him to her in the past when he was hit by anxiety attacks. "Besides being pretty and shapely, Tunis was a spiritual person and an early proponent of meditation with an unshakably serene outlook on life," Patrick McGilligan wrote. "Her personality had a soothing effect on Clint."