Sally Field Felt Like She "Stopped Existing" While in Relationship With Controlling Ex Burt Reynolds | It Was "Hurtful"

Sally Field Felt Like She "Stopped Existing" While in Relationship With Controlling Ex Burt Reynolds | It Was "Hurtful"

She said even though there was love and care in the relationship it was still "complicated and confusing."

Source: Getty Images | Photo by (L) Laura Cavanaugh, (R) Frank Edwards

When Burt Reynolds and Sally Field met on the sets of Smokey and the Bandits in 1977, they never thought that they would go on to be one of the most iconic couples of Hollywood.

Field revealed that the connection she felt was instant with no doubts whatsoever. It was Reynolds' charisma and swagger that made the connection between them so intense. Talking to Good Morning America she said, “We had known each other about three days, four days at that point [during the filming of Smokey and the Bandit]. It was instantaneous, and four days felt like four years," as reported by People.



She continued, “You can see it in our faces. We were sort of, you know, deeply entangled. That nature of it wasn’t just, ‘Oh, this is a love affair.’ There was some ingredient between us having to do with my care-taking and him needing to be taken care of.” The 73-year-old actress believes that Reynolds “was the most important influence that came into my life other than my children at the time," as reported by Closer Weekly because he “gave me a feeling that I was sexy, and I wanted to be everything he ever wanted."


The whirlwind romance lasted for a short while as things were a little different than they seemed. The world thought that they were a happy couple but it was just an illusion; behind closed doors, they were struggling. "I stopped existing. I dressed for him, looked for him, walked for him. He asked me to marry him many times, [but] I knew his heart wasn’t in it. We’d have ended up just feeling terrible.”


Sylvia Resnick, author of Burt Reynolds: An Unauthorized Biography and The Evolution of the Hollywood Heartthrob told Closer Weekly exclusively, “Burt got restless. He had a very self-destructive streak that way,” referring to the fame and jealousy that he felt as Field raised in stardom. “Sally thought she could live with it, but it made her too upset and anxious,” she continued.



She added, “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.”


Echoing Resnick, the Mrs. Doubtfire actress wrote in her memoir, In Pieces, “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."

She continued, “Blindly I fell into a rut that had long ago formed in my road, a pre-programmed behavior as if in some past I had pledged a soul-binding commitment to this man.”


After dating for five years, the duo parted ways in 1982 and Reynolds blamed himself for the crumbling of their relationship. “She was the love of my life,” he told Vanity Fair in 2015, as reported by Us Magazine, and confessed that he missed her. “Even now, it’s hard on me. 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 added.



"I did four movies with Sally and spent five years with her. She was the love of my life and I screwed the relationship up. That sense of loss never goes away. I have no idea what Sally thinks about it," He said while talking to The Daily Mail in 2016.

"She could pick up the phone and speak to me but she never does. I spoke to her son recently. He said that his mom talks about me all the time. Maybe she’ll phone me one day. I’d love to have that conversation," he added.

While talking to The New York Times Field revealed that writing the memoir was a strange experience because she was “flooded with feelings and nostalgia” about him. Explaining about her relationship with the late actor, she said that it was "confusing and complicated" which was quite "hurtful" but it was "not without loving and caring." Reynolds passed away before the release of Field's book.

She added that the book "would hurt him" and so she was relieved that he wasn't around to read it. “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.”


However, even though both of them went through struggles of their own, she finds her time with Reynolds as a transformative phase. NPR reported her saying, “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. 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.”