Updated: Nov 19, 2020
Do movie stars exist anymore? Those mythic creatures of beauty and mystery, at once hauntingly familiar and untouchable...Actors and actresses with the kind of charisma and humanity that shine no matter the role..effortlessly magnetizing themselves to our hearts and minds, decade after decade, beyond the grave, even.....
What's more soul-stirring than a movie star romance? Some might say a movie star romance gone awry. While there are many “throwback” Hollywood love affairs to investigate, I was drawn to Anjelica Huston and Jack Nicholson's troubled love story. They shared 17 tumultuous years back when Hollywood was still a sleepy, sun-bleached hamlet.
As a legendary womanizer, Jack Nicholson is both familiar to all of us through his legendary film roles and has also done an expert job of keeping himself to himself. Anjelica Huston is an artistic force--a woman’s woman who is whip smart and touchingly vulnerable. I highly recommend her autobiographies: A Story Lately Told and Watch Me.
Five years after their breakup, Jack and Anjelica were cast as what else but exes in the film The Crossing Guard. One day on set, Jack turned to Anjelica and said, “You and me, Toots — we’re like ‘Love in the Time of Cholera.’ Magical realism? Really, Jack?
This quote got me thinking: What’s going on between these two astrologically that he would describe his love for Anjelica as both hopeless and eternal?
Well, let’s start at the very beginning with Jack Nicholson, the man.
Astrologically speaking, he is as seductive as he is wounded.
Let’s start with Jack’s "movie-star" astro makeup: Sun in Taurus conjunct Venus in Aries (conjunctions out of sign give people conflicting personality dynamics--fun!). Basically, this conjunction makes Jack a whirlpool of charisma and charm. Like most men with Sun conjunct Venus, Jack loves to be loved and is, of course, a lady killer. If you asked him, Jack would probably say he was never “on the prowl” a day in his life. Rather, he would say with a smile that he was enjoying the company of women who seemed to like and appreciate his company! Men with this conjunction pull women in with the gravitational force of their charm, they don’t “pursue” women...Got it?
When things get dicey in his relationships, Jack is NOT a fan of arguing and uncouth histrionics, thank you very much. He likes to keep the atmosphere light and pleasant, whenever and however possible, even if it means glossing over problems. Even it means telling little white lies. Even if it means hiding his dalliances with other women. So, how does Jack smooth things over? Why, with grand, romantic gestures
People with Sun conjunct Venus are creatures of love and Jack is no exception. Case in point: A few years after their breakup (Anjelica justifiably bowed out of the relationship when Jack got another woman pregnant), Anjelica Huston received a pearl and diamond bracelet from Jack. This wasn’t just any bracelet, people. It was given to Ava Gardner from her legendarily obsessive lover and ex-husband Frank Sinatra. Ava had left him heart-broken...
Old habits die-hard, guys. When a 70-something Jack crossed paths with actress Jennifer Lawrence at the Oscars a few years ago, he congratulated her on the “beautiful job” she did in Silver Linings Playbook and followed up by sending her flowers, a bottle of Cristal, and a note that said ‘Missing you already’.
Jack’s charm is hiding some deep wounds. With his Moon square Chiron, Jack’s relationships with women can be fraught with pain. A little backstory: Jack’s mom had him when she was a teenager, so he was raised by his grandma, believing she was his mom and that his real mom was his aunt. Confusing? Yes! Painful? Absolutely!
So, I think that Jack’s serial dating is not only a function of his Sun conjunct Venus nature, but also a way for him to avoid getting emotionally entangled with women and, thus, risking emotional or physical abandonment. Jack was doing his damndest to outrun his Moon square Chiron fears with all that bed-hopping!
Nicholson’s Moon opposite Saturn also makes love a scary thing for this fella, as it brings up plenty of unwieldy emotions. With this aspect, deep feelings are uncomfortable territory, especially in the realm of romance. Will she reject me? Will I be disappointed again? These are questions that make Jack keep most women at arms-length emotionally. It’s safer that way, you see, when you have the Moon opposite Saturn. Loneliness is better than having your hopes dashed.
Alright, so here comes Anjelica to brighten up Jack’s black heart; she arrives on Jack’s doorstep on a cool L.A. night with her super-feminine, soft, enveloping Sun and Mars in Cancer. Her Moon conjunct Venus in Virgo enhances her loveliness-it makes her supremely gentle and affectionate, a woman who probably loves to take care of the men in her life.
Her Sun/Mars in Cancer is looking for someone who is compassionate, sensitive, and protective. Her Moon/Venus conjunction in Virgo makes her loyal, intelligent (prone to overthinking/worrying maybe) and liable to show her love by making herself indispensable to her partners. All this lady wants is “a perfect romance and a lovely husband”.
Anjelica is not all passivity and lace. Her Sun is conjunct Uranus, giving her a strong sense of Aquarian self-determination. For all her desire to land a storybook romance, Anjelica can be quite the contrarian. This lady doesn't want to be considered “normal” and definitely enjoys going her own way. Oh, and by the way, Jack also has his Sun conjunct Uranus, so he needs his SPACE and is allergic to routine too. Can you tell where this is going?
So, they meet at a house party. She sleeps over. What then?
Well, his Taurus Sun trines her Virgo Moon and her Cancer Sun quintiles his Virgo Moon, so they probably both felt like it was an easy, supportive pairing between their egos and emotions. They both have their Moon in Virgo (although not conjunct by aspect), so after a few sleepovers they probably both noticed they shared a “practical” approach to daily life. Virgo moons can be EXTREMELY PARTICULAR (read: OCD) about their living environment and Jack and Anjelica moving in with each other quickly makes sense: they both had an instinctive sense of orderliness when it came to managing their emotions (and bedside tables) and shared an innately analytical approach to most situations.
Put simply, Jack and Anjelica both spoke the same emotional language. With Jack’s Aries Venus trine Anjelica’s Virgo Venus, they spoke the same love language too and probably felt extremely “at ease” with each other from the get-go. They were each other’s go-to date for many Hollywood events spanning almost 20 years and why not? Venus trine Venus gives people highly compatible tastes, sensibilities, and social styles. They were RADIANT together when they ventured out into the klieg lights of Hollywood.
Jack’s Venus in Aries trines Anjelica’s Sag Ascendant, so Jack couldn’t help but genuinely adore Anjelica’s happy-go-lucky personality and Angelica loved the warm glow of his admiration. As the Ascendant person, Anjelica thought Jack (Venus) was terribly attractive---just her type of man in many ways!
Anjelica’s Venus in Virgo is trine Jack’s Sun in Taurus which gives their relationship a nice layer of contentment that can smooth over rough edges in their dynamic. As Venus, Anjelica found Jack (Sun) exceptionally charming and probably found herself doing little things here and there just to please him; She loved seeing him happy. On Jack’s part, he felt more attractive when Anjelica was around---super addictive for someone with his Sun conjunct Venus (remember their favorite thing to feel is others’ love for them).
Lots of lovely feels exchanged between these two: they had great affection for each other (Sun trine Venus, Venus trine Ascendant), friendship (Venus trine Venus), ego/emotional compatibility (Sun trine Moon/Sun Quintile Moon/Moons in Virgo). So, where did it go sideways?
We already touched on the emotional wounds and feelings of isolation (Moon square Chiron and Moon opposite Saturn) that Jack kept tightly under wraps. Well, imagine having all that carefully packed away, hidden beneath your movie star looks, charm, and success. Now, how would you feel if, suddenly, someone threw a bucket of ice water over your head and told you it’s time to “get to work” on fixing everything you’ve been trying to repress.
That’s the effect Anjelica may have had on Jack’s emotions at times, since her Saturn in Pisces opposes Jack’s Moon in Virgo. Anjelica (Saturn) saw a lot that Jack could do to “mature” emotionally and couldn’t help but give it to him straight: it was time to “grow up”. This aspect also puts someone like Jack, with his thirst for near-complete independence (Sun conjunct Uranus) and fear of intimacy (Moon opposite Saturn), in his least favorite position: tip-toeing around dependence on both Anjelica (Saturn) and their relationship. Yes, Anjelica definitely put emotional demands on Jack to become an emotional adult (ew). However, the upside to this Moon opposite Saturn dynamic was that Anjelica (Saturn) would be a constant, dependable, and true-blue source of emotional safety for Jack (Moon), no matter what. Anjelica working as Jack’s emotional safety vest worked for them for a long, long time, I’m sure.
However, with time, Jack (Moon) may have had a hard time making his ever so complex emotional life step to the beat of Anjelica’s drum. When Moon opposite Saturn shows up in synastry, Saturn is doing some heavy lifting too! For her part, Anjelica (Saturn) may have grown tired of the work it took to keep Jack on the straight and narrow. The path of least resistance may have been to let each other just be.
These two stepped on a romantic roller coaster when they got together: they have Moon square Mars both ways: Anjelica’s Moon in Virgo squares Jack’s Mars in Sag and Jack’s Moon in Virgo squares Anjelica’s Mars in Cancer. This tells me that these two were CREATURES OF PASSION when they were in close quarters.
The Moon/Mars square creates emotional cross currents that can change on a dime, swinging from the epic highs of attraction to the depths of frustration and back again with no "off" switch. One moment, Jack (Mars) found himself getting defensive in the face of Anjelica’s (Moon) “needy” whining. The next moment, Jack (Moon) was acting like the immature one, insisting on getting his emotional needs met and triggering Anjelica’s (Mars) aggression. Whew! Anjelica said that they both alternately wanted to marry each other, but never at the same time, and I get why with this aspect. Being together could be emotionally exhausting and exasperating!
After their breakup, Anjelica went on to marry sculptor Robert Graham (a Leo who looks eerily like Anjelica’s dad John Huston) and was with him for sixteen years until he passed away. Here Anjelica describes their dynamic, which reveals so much of what she needs as a woman with strong Cancer and Virgo influences:
Bob had, to some extent, regulated her behaviour. He was the steady one. Whereas, “I felt like flotsam and jetsam for a long time. Very emotional. Going between polar opposites.” Without him, she says, “I fret and worry and get lazy and eat too much. I’ve done something all my life – like smoked – to keep my energy down. I’ve got a big engine. He used to say to me, ‘Don’t worry your pretty little head.’ That was my favourite sentence in the world.”
Super sweet. Anjelica's Moon conjunct Venus in Virgo makes her an adorable worry wart perfectionist. With Strong Cancer placements, she needs someone to soothe her when her fantastical fears need to be tucked away for the night. That “big engine” Robert helped Anjelica tame probably came from the lightning bolts of Uranian energy that electrified her Cancer Sun and Cancer Mars (Uranus conjuncts both planets in her birth chart). Anjelica also has the big, loping energy and enthusiasm that comes with having her Cancer Mars square her Jupiter in Aries. What do you do with the energy that can move mountains when there are no mountains to move?
Mr. Nicholson went on to date many women, but spent an extended time with bad-ass Aries Sun/Libra Moon Lara Flynn Boyle, after asking her out directly in front of then-boyfriend comedian David Spade(!).
Now, Jack and Anjelica were sweet together, but in Lara Flynn Boyle, Jack might have met his match...someone who was not going to be tamed! With her stellium in rebellious, I-live-and-die -by-my-instincts Aries (Sun, Mercury, Venus, and Mars are in the sign of the ram) and a breezily elegant Moon in Libra, Lara probably gave Jack a run for his money. She eventually walked away from the relationship, leaving Jack heartbroken. With his Moon in Virgo conjunct Lara's Uranus in Virgo, Lara’s energy probably never left Jack feeling emotionally “settled” and maybe he liked it that way? They did share Sun opposite Moon both ways (Jack’s Taurus Sun opposite Lara’s Libra Moon and Lara’s Aries Sun opposite Jack’s Virgo Moon) and Venus conjunct Venus in Aries, so they balanced each other out as a romantic pair and felt like best friends when things were good.
Ah, but what of a timeless love that can never be realized? That’s why we started this whole story, isn’t it? In Jack and Anjelica’s composite chart, we see Venus conjunct Saturn (love that feels eternal), Moon conjunct Mars (fiery passion), and Venus square Neptune (a romance that feels like an impossible dream). Maybe Jack was onto something all those years ago.