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Burt Reynolds and Sally Field: Story behind Their Iconic Romance

Pedro Marrero
Oct 22, 2019
10:00 P.M.
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Even though their whirlwind and much-publicized romance only lasted for five years, Reynolds admitted at the end of his life that he would have loved to reconnect with her sometime. This is their love story.


Late actor Burt Reynolds and 72-year-old actress Sally Field took separate ways in 1982 after being involved in a whirlwind and iconic Hollywood romance. More than 30 years later, and after Reynolds has left us, let’s revisit their relationship.

What started as an on-screen couple in 1977 soon evolved into a genuine romance between two famous and influential actors, and the public has been fascinated by the details and dramatic turns that are part of their story.



Reynolds and Field met each other for the first time while starring together in the 1977 action comedy film “Smokey and the Bandit,” on which the two played the leading couple, a soon they embarked on a full real-life romance.

The relationship went on for five years and like any other couple they had their ups and downs, but given their larger-than-life status as stars at the peak of their respective careers often made things very difficult.

“By the time we met, the weight of his stardom had become a way for Burt to control everyone around him, and from the moment I walked through the door, it was a way to control me. We were a perfect match of flaws,” Field later shared.



Details about the relationship have surfaced over the years, and Field has been outspoken on several occasions about the time she was Reynolds’ girlfriend, both in interviews and in her writings.

While Field has said her time with Reynolds was a very special time of her life, she has been open about the unhappiness that started to fill her just two years into the relationship, and Reynolds' ego apparently had something to do with it.

“Toward the end of their relationship, when Sally’s star started to rise in terms of her credibility and talent, Burt was resentful and competitive. It was the death knell for their romance,” a friend of the couple told Closer Weekly.


Field considers that part of the problem was that she put too much effort into doing Reynolds will and in the end she felt she was disappearing under his shadow, but when she started to become more independent, he resented it.

"He gave me a feeling that I was sexy, and I wanted to be everything he ever wanted. [But] that was terrible because what happened is that I stopped existing. I dressed for him, looked for him, walked for him,” Field also told Closer Weekly.



Finally, in 1982, Reynolds and Field had no alternative but to part ways, since the relationship became unsustainable. In conversation with Closer Weekly, the actor took the blame about the breakup.

“I don’t know why I was so stupid. Men are like that, you know. You find the perfect person, and then you do everything you can to screw it up,” he said.


23 years after the relationship ended, Reynolds surprised everybody when he started to open up about his feelings for Field when he was promoting his memoir, revealing that he still loved her very much and wished the two could have stayed in touch.

Burt Reynolds. I Image: Getty Images.

Burt Reynolds. I Image: Getty Images.

The following year, 2016, Reynolds not only called Field the love of his life but also called her “one of the most underrated actresses” and the best he had ever worked with.


“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,” Reynolds told Daily Mail.

Field refrained from answering the question directly, and still didn’t try to contact Reynolds, but she did comment that any response for that would only be given to Reynolds himself, with whom, she admitted, she hadn’t talked in decades.

Burt Reynolds. I Image: Getty Images.

Burt Reynolds. I Image: Getty Images.



In September 2018, Reynolds passed away from a heart attack at a Florida hospital, at the age of 82. He had suffered from cardiac trouble for years and had undergone heart bypass surgery in 2010.

Field reacted to the sad news by releasing a heartfelt statement via US Weekly.

“There are times in your life that are so indelible, they never fade away. They stay alive, even 40 years later. 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 wrote.

Sally Field. I Image: Getty Images.

Sally Field. I Image: Getty Images.


Field’s memoir “In Pieces” was published just days after Reynolds’ passing, making the actress feel relieved that her former lover was never going to read the revelations she made in the intimate book.

“This would hurt him. 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,” she told the New York Times.

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