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Sally Field Claimed Burt Reynolds Was Controlling during Their 'Confusing' & 'Hurtful' Romance

Titi Dokubo
Mar 06, 2022
03:00 A.M.
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Burt Reynolds and Sally Field were together for five years, but there was turbulence and much pain throughout their relationship.


Sally Field once revealed her true feelings during their relationship in her memoir, and it was not as perfect as the public viewed it.

Despite him calling her the love of his life, she didn't seem to feel it much because of his controlling nature, and he was 'hurtful' to her.

Burt Reynolds and Sally Field in "Smokey and the Bandit" [left], Photo of Sally Field [right] | Source: Getty Images,


Born on February 11, 1936, Burton Leon Reynolds Jr. got his big break in 1957 after appearing in the "Mister Roberts."

After signing a television contract, he had regular roles on "Dan August," "Riverboat," "Hawk," and "Gunsmoke." However, his breakthrough role came in 1972 when he starred in "Deliverance."

He soon became one of Hollywood's most sought-after superstars and starred in "The Longest Yard," "The Cannonball Run," "The End," "Evening Shade," "Striptease," "Boogie Nights," and "The Dukes of Hazzard," among others.

Burt Reynolds on the set of "Hawk" circa 1966 | Source: Getty Images


Sally Margaret Field is an actress, writer, and director born on November 6, 1946, and got her big break when she starred in "Gidget" in 1965.

She has starred in "The Flying Nun," "The Girl with Something Extra," "Stay Hungry," "Norma Rae," "Places in the Heart," "Punchline," "Steel Magnolias," "Mrs. Doubtfire," "Forrest Gump," "Sybil," and more.

Together with Reynolds, she starred in "Smokey and the Bandit," "Hooper," and "Smokey and the Bandit II."

Portrait of Sally Field in 1980 | Source: Getty Images



Reynolds and Field first met in 1977 on the set of "Smokey and the Bandit." Reynolds had heard she wasn't sexy, but he believed her talents were enough even though she almost didn't get the role.

In no time, they fell in love, and in the early days of their relationship, they were seen as a good team partly because they both had the same sense of humor.

Burt Reynolds and Sally Field in a scene from "Smokey and the Bandit III" | Source: Getty Images


He became one of the most important influences in her life, and she admitted that he let her feel sexy. She said,

"He gave me a feeling that I was sexy, and I wanted to be everything he ever wanted."

About three or four days after they met, their attraction was evident, and according to Field, the days felt like years because they were already profoundly entangled.

Burt Reynolds and Sally Field in a scene from "Smokey and the Bandit" | Source: Getty Images



Although the public had viewed their relationship as 'perfect,' it wasn't true at all behind closed doors. In Field's memoir "In Pieces," she revealed that when they met, Reynolds was controlling.

He often used his stardom to control everyone around him, and together, they became a 'perfect match of flaws.' Blindly, she fell into a rut and had a soul-binding commitment to him.

Burt Reynolds and Sally Field at the Ma Maison Restaurant on January 25, 1978 | Source: Getty Images


She only saw the nature of their relationship after she was already into it. Field said,

"That nature of it wasn't just, 'Oh, this is a love affair.' There was some ingredient between us having to do with my caretaking and him needing to be taken care of."

Field further described their relationship as "confusing and complicated." Though it was not without loving and caring, it was still "complicated and hurtful" to her.

Burt Reynolds and Sally Field in "Smokey And The Bandit" in 1977 | Source: Getty Images


Besides being controlling, she said Reynolds accepted some parts of her life and personality and was uninterested in or disapproving of other aspects of her life.

While they were on the set of "Smokey," she saw him receive mysterious injections to his chest even though he had other drugs he had been taking.

Burt Reynolds and Sally Field at the "Golda" Gala in New York | Source: Getty Images


Field then tried to have him medically examined only to realize she was trying to fix their relationship to look like what she had with her stepfather. She said,

"I was somehow exorcising something that needed to be exorcised. I was trying to make it work this time."

After Field's parents divorced in 1951, her mother remarried in 1952 to an actor and stuntman, Jock Mahoney. He frequently summoned Field to his bedroom and sexually abused her. The abuse stopped when she was 14.

Burt Reynolds and Sally Field at the performance of Annie on November 4, 1977 | Source: Getty Images


During their relationship, she couldn't be herself and was absent because she learned that she had to disappear to be loved. Also, Reynolds being a man of his time, needed his women to represent him in a certain way. After their relationship, she often wondered if he would have been different had she spoken up.

After five years of dating, their relationship ended in 1982, and it became one of Hollywood's most iconic romances. It was also one of showbiz's most passionate and tumultuous love stories.

Burt Reynolds and Sally Field at the Los Angeles Television Critics Awards | Source: Getty Images



After their relationship, Reynolds and Field went on to marry other people. Two years after their breakup, Field married the film producer Alan Greisman, but they divorced in 1994.

Her marriage to Greisman was her second marriage as she was married to Steven Craig between 1968 and 1975 before her relationship with Reynolds.

Reynolds was married to the English actress Judy Carne from 1963 to 1965. After his relationship with Field, he married Loni Anderson in 1988, but they divorced in 1993.

Burt Reynolds and Loni Anderson at the First Annual Eastman Second Century Award Salute to Burt Reynolds and Steven Spielberg on March 27, 1987 | Source: Getty Images



Before his death, the actor said Field was the love of his life, and he took the blame for what happened to their relationship. He admitted to missing her and regretted being stupid.

He believed she was the perfect person, but he did everything to ruin their relationship. Years later, Reynolds revealed that their breakup was still hard on him.

On September 6, 2018, Reynolds died at the Jupiter Medical Center at 82. After experiencing chest pains, a caretaker from his home called the Fire-Rescue Department.

Burt Reynolds at the premiere of "The Last Movie Star" on March 22, 2018 | Source: Getty Images


The rescue team took him to the Medical Center, and the center did not state the cause of his death. It was four days after his death that Field's released her memoir.

When Field heard of his death, she said she was "flooded with feelings and nostalgia" about him. However, she was relieved that he would never read her memoir or learn what she wrote about him.

Field knew that what she had written would have hurt him. With him not being around, no one would ask him about it, and he would not need to defend himself or lash out. She was also glad she would not be hurting him further.