Burt Reynolds and Loni Anderson met in the late 90s and began a high-profile relationship a year later. When they wed, Reynolds said he married his best friend, while Anderson expressed she had found her Prince Charming. However, the couple's marriage ended in a messy divorce and custody battle.
Hollywood actor Burt Reynolds and actress Loni Anderson met in 1981 and started dating one year later. The duo instantly became a Hollywood power couple as they graced magazine covers and attended red carpets together.
Reynolds told People in June 1982 that he had no idea whether the relationship he had with Anderson would blossom into a long-term situation.
(L) Actor Burt Reynolds pictured from a scene in the 1977 film "Smokey and the Bandit," in 1970, New York. (R) Burt Reynolds and his son during the Fourth Annual Actors' Fund of America gala held in the Luckman Fine Arts Complex at California State University on October 25, 2003 in Los Angeles California. / Source: Getty Images
"I have no idea whether this relationship will go any further than it has right now," he said. Reynolds explained he and his significant other were both trying very hard to get acquainted and like each other without interference from the press.
The "Smokey and the Bandit" actor married the three-time Golden Globe Award winner in 1988 during a top-secret ceremony at his ranch in Jupiter, Florida. People documented the auspicious occasion. At the reception, the groom said:
"I'm a lucky man. I'm surrounded by love and dear friends, and I married my best friend today."
Burt Reynolds and his wife Anderson attending the Eastman Kodak's First Annual Eastman Second Century Award Salute at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on March 27, 1987 in Hollywood, California. / Source: Getty Images
The feeling was mutual for his bride, who felt like their day was some fairy tale event, saying she felt like a princess marrying her Prince Charming:
"I feel like Cinderella. I married Prince Charming."
REYNOLDS' MOM OPPOSED THE MARRIAGE AND MADE IT CLEAR
Burt Reynolds with actress Loni Anderson pictured donning black and white coordinating outfits in 1992. / Source: Getty Images
Despite being madly in love at the time, Reynolds' mother strongly showed disapproval for her son to wed Anderson. "The Longest Yard" star opened up about his relationship with the now 76-year-old in an interview with Men's Health in April 2016.
Reynolds admitted there were red flags that showed their marriage would not last. He recalled when he walked down the aisle alongside Perry Como in the chapel he specially built for his wedding.
The pop culture icon revealed he turned to glance at his mother, who was "shaking her head 'No'" at him. "I didn't pay attention, but my mom was always right," said Reynolds.
Burt Reynolds and Loni Anderson during the Motion Picture & Television Fund's 8th Annual Golden Boot Awards at the Century Plaza Hotel on July 28 1990 in Los Angeles, California. / Source: Getty Images
The couple separated six years after exchanging their wedding vows. When asked whether Anderson was the love of his life, Reynolds bluntly said:
"Nope. Absolutely not."
The "Gator" star previously spoke candidly about his failed marriage with the Minnesota native, telling People that he should have known better to marry someone in the same profession as him. "I should have known that you don't marry an actress," he said.
Loni Anderson and her spouse Burt Reynolds attending the Friars Club of California's 14th Annual Lifetime Achievement Award at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 28, 1993 in Beverly Hills, California. / Source: Getty Images
Reynolds first admitted in November 2015 that his marriage to Anderson was a mistake. "That was a dumb move on my part," he shared. He detailed his rocky union in his memoir called "But Enough About Me."
Regardless of their differences, the relationship blessed the former couple with a son named Quinton, whom they adopted during their six-year marriage.
Burt Reynolds and his son Quinton arriving for the First International World Stunt Awards on 20 May, 2001 in Santa Monica, California. / Source: Getty Images
Once again, in September 2018, Reynolds reiterated his regret for marrying Anderson, saying "it wasn't lollipops and roses." He revealed that she bought everything in triplicate, from everyday dresses to jewelry to china and linens. She once told him:
"I never wear a dress after it has been photographed. I have to dress like a star."
Anderson's husband gave her a platinum American Express card with a $45,000 credit limit, and she maxed it out in half an hour, to his dismay.
THE CUSTODY BATTLE THAT LEFT REYNOLDS HOLLOW
Burt Reynolds during 2000 ESPY Awards at MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. / Source: Getty Images
Anderson and Reynolds announced their shocking split in June 1993. His rep at the time deemed their marriage "irretrievably broken" and that their priorities had changed. Lack of intimacy also played a role in the divorce filing from Reynolds' side.
Following the duo's official divorce in 1994, everything came crumbling down. The father of one lost custody of his son as the judge saw his mother as a better fit for his care.
Quinton was only six years old when his parents parted ways. His father refused to be like his own dad and ensured he knew he loved him.
Quinton Reynolds and his father Burt Reynolds during 2005 Professional Dancers Society Annual Gypsy Awards in Los Angeles, California. / Source: Getty Images
The now 33-year-old always knew that he was adopted from a young age because someone close to his parents told him. As a grown-up, Quinton lived right across the street from his mom. His dad expressed how difficult it was because of what his mother may have whispered in his ear about him.
Reynolds shared that he talked on the phone with his child while admitting they did not have a steady relationship. The adoring father said he loved his son very much:
"I love him so much, and I think he loves me, but we don't spend as much time together as I'd like, and it's hard."
Burt Reynolds attending the "Dog Years" premiere during 2017 Tribeca Film Festival at Cinepolis Chelsea on April 22, 2017 in New York City. / Source: Getty Images
Amid his custody fight with Anderson two years after the divorce, Reynolds pleaded poverty as his net worth of $7.5 million plunged to $2 million in six months.
Consequently, he requested a reduction because he could not afford the $15,000 a month he paid in child support. "Like every American, I'm having a cash-flow problem right now," Reynolds admitted to the court.
HIS SON WAS HIS 'GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT'
Burt Reynolds and son Quinton during "The Longest Yard" Los Angeles premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California. / Source: Getty Images
Though the Hollywood veteran had a successful career spanning six decades, he once revealed to Closer Weekly that Quinton was his "greatest achievement" and expressed how proud he was of him:
"He is my greatest achievement. He's a wonderful young man and is now working as a camera assistant in Hollywood. He never asked for any help with his career, he did it all by himself, and I'm so proud of him."
Quinton, born in August 1988, is known for 2016's "Ouija: Origin of Evil," "Tales of Halloween" (2015), and the 2016 action movie "Officer Downe."
Burt Reynolds and Quinton during the 4th Annual Taurus World Stunt Awards at Paramount Pictures on May 16, 2004 in Los Angeles, California. / Source: Getty Images
His father sadly died from a heart attack in September 2018. Reynolds passed away at a hospital in Florida after going into cardiac arrest. He was 82 years old.
Interestingly, he excluded Quinton from his will but not with the intent to disinherit him. TMZ reported that the father of one purposely omitted his only son from the will.
The document stated the "Gunsmoke" star had created a trust years ago for his son's benefit and that the money would continue going to him. This route mainly ensures the avoidance of paying estate taxes.
Winner Burt Reynolds backstage holding his Golden Globe Award at the 55th Annual Golden Globes Awards Show on January 18, 1998 in Beverly Hills, California. / Source: Getty Images
The document was hollow as all Reynolds' assets were in the trust. The trustee was his niece Nancy Lee Brown Hess. In his last Will & Testament, the producer declared that his personal property be distributed, such as cars, jewelry, and other household effects.
At his private memorial service in North Palm Beach, Florida, friends, and family shared memories of the celebrated renowned star. His former wife Anderson delivered a eulogy sharing fond memories of their time. She called their son their "greatest collaboration."
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