Why Burt Reynolds Regretted Not Marrying Sally Field, ‘Love of My Life’

by Joe Rutland

If you’ve seen “Smokey and the Bandit,” then you sense a little more than just acting going on between Burt Reynolds and co-star Sally Field.

Back in the mid-1970s, Reynolds and Field were a hot couple in Hollywood circles. Their love affair made plenty of headlines for tabloid fodder. Was it an everlasting love between Reynolds, the top box-office movie star at the time, and Field, known for TV roles in “Gidget” and “The Flying Nun?”

No, it didn’t last forever. But Burt Reynolds did carry around regrets for not marrying Field.

The couple started dating in 1977 and appeared in four movies, including “Smokey and the Bandit,” “Smokey and the Bandit II,” “The End,” and “Hooper.” But their relationship ended in 1980, yet they continued seeing one another on and off until 1982.

Burt Reynolds Remained Disturbed About Letting Field Go

Reynolds went on to marry actress Loni Anderson, who found success on CBS’ popular sitcom “WKRP In Cincinnati.” Sally Field also got married and had a child with her husband Alan Greisman. Both Reynolds and Field would end up divorcing their spouses, yet never got back together as a couple.

It’s something that seemingly haunted Burt Reynolds for a long, long time. He shared in an interview that he held deep regrets for not marrying Field. He describes her as “the love of my life.”

“I miss her terribly,” Reynolds said nearing the end of his life. “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.”

In 2015, after publishing his memoir, Reynolds continued to almost pine for Field in an interview with People Magazine.

Reynolds Called Sally Field ‘Very, Very Special’

“She’s very, very special,” he said. “Her mother and I … I loved her mother.”

Burt Reynolds said Field’s mother told him, “I know you’re going to break her heart, but please be gentle.”

“I said, ‘I don’t know how you could break somebody’s heart and be gentle, but I don’t intend to break her heart,'” Reynolds said. “You never intend to.”

Speaking to “Entertainment Tonight” as well in 2015, Reynolds revealed he continued to speak about his feelings, saying he still missed the actress.

“I do miss her. I think she was one of the most underrated actresses, you know?” he said. “She was the best actress I ever worked with.”