Sally Field and Burt Reynolds filmed four movies together (including Smokey and the Bandit and Hooper) and dated on-and-off for five years.
The 2019 Kennedy Center Honors recipient opened up about her relationship with Burt in her 2018 book, In Pieces.
Burt died at 82 in September 2018.
Sally Field and Burt Reynolds were a high-profile couple for several years after meeting on the set of Smokey and the Bandit. But it turns out their relationship wasn’t as picture-perfect as it seemed.
The actress opened up about her life — and love life — in her 2018 memoir, In Pieces. During interviews promoting the book, Sally admitted that she was glad Burt would never get the chance to read, or ask questions about, the parts of her memoir recounting their time as a couple. (Burt died on September 6, 2018, while Sally's book was released on September 18, 2018.)
Sally told The New York Times their romance was “confusing and complicated, and not without loving and caring, but really complicated and hurtful to me.” That included him not wanting her to attend the 1977 Emmys, when she ended up winning for her role in Sybil.
In her memoir, she wrote about how her stepfather’s abuse when she was a child affected her relationships with men later on, and that included Burt.
“I reveal [in the book] what I was feeling and how trapped I was in an old pattern of behavior — and how I was predisposed,” she told NPR. “He was a preformed rut in my road. And I couldn't see it coming and I didn't know how to get out. I had been carefully trained to fall into this ... we were a perfect match of flaws.”
That said, she told the Times she was “flooded with feelings and nostalgia” about him after learning of his death. "There are times in your life that are so indelible, they never fade away. They stay alive, even forty years later," she said in a statement after his death. "My years with Burt never leave my mind. He will be in my history and my heart, for as long as I live. Rest, Buddy."
She said she did not want Burt to read her memoir because of her raw passages about their time together. “This would hurt him,” she told the Times. “I felt glad that he wasn’t going to read it, he wasn’t going to be asked about it, and he wasn’t going to have to defend himself or lash out, which he probably would have. I did not want to hurt him any further.”
Overall, though, she views her time with Burt as a transformative point in her life. “I've always thought of him rather nostalgically. ... He was a very important part of my life, but for a tiny little part of my life,” she told NPR. “I was only with him for about three years and then maybe two years on-and-off after that. But it was so hugely important in my own existence, my own movement as a person.”
Back in 2016, Burt told The Daily Mail that Sally was "the love of my life." He also called the split his “biggest disappointment.”
“That sense of loss never goes away. I have no idea what Sally thinks about it. She could pick up the phone and speak to me but she never does. I spoke to her son recently," he explained. "He said that his mum talks about me all the time. Maybe she’ll phone me one day. I’d love to have that conversation.”
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