Sally Field Said Burt Reynolds Housebroke Her and Disapproved of Her ‘Prolific Use of Swear Words’

Sally Field caught her first big on-screen break with Gidget, a TV show that aired from 1965-1966. More television and film roles soon followed, and so did a romance with one of Hollywood’s biggest celebrities: Burt Reynolds.

The two connected while working on a film together and had a love affair that was sometimes fraught with conflict. Field once revealed that Reynolds worked to “housebreak her” and showed her what was allowed.

Sally Field met Burt Reynolds while filming ‘Smokey and the Bandit’

Sally Field landed the role of Carrie in the 1977 flick, Smokey and the Bandit starring alongside Burt Reynolds. According to her memoir, In Pieces, he told her he liked her work in Gidget and wanted her to play opposite him in the movie.

Field described meeting the superstar for the first time when she flew to Atlanta to start filming. He arrived a day after her and called to ask her out on a dinner date. She was so nervous that her hand was shaking while holding the phone.

Field recalled how Reynolds sent his bodyguard into her hotel to pick her up and they met outside. “He was incredibly charming, adored at the time for being who he was: a funny, self-deprecating good ol’ boy,” she wrote.

Field added that he was also weighed down by notoriety, sex symbol status, and fame in general. After their first date, they went on more and decided to become exclusive.

Field said Reynolds wanted to control her and disliked her use of swear words

Early in their relationship, Field noticed a change in Reynolds. Though she was a single, working mom, she got to the point where she didn’t feel comfortable speaking about herself.

Part of the reason was Reynolds dealt with pain attacks that affected his chest. Field felt that sometimes, she may have indirectly triggered them.

“Gently, Burt began to housebreak me, teaching me what was allowed and what was not. If I wanted to tell him what I’d accomplished or talk about my children, or Lord knows, disagree with him about anything, he’d listen glassy-eyed for a moment, maybe offer a distracted comment or two before turning away,” she wrote.

According to Field, her attempts to chat about her life were occasionally followed by Reynolds keeling over in pain. But there were other issues.

“I eliminated talking about my struggle with work and money, about Lee and the Studio, about my children and how I ached for them. He disapproved of my prolific use of swear words — something I dearly loved (and still do) — so I eliminated them too,” Field recalled.

“I knew early on never to mention the men who had been in my life, and later became terrified of running into somebody I might have known, whether sexually or not. Burt would pinch my face in his hand, demanding I tell him who the guy was and what kind of relationship I’d had with him,” Field said.

She explained that she’d sometimes lie to Reynolds about such acquaintances , and her heart would race with fear. She said she became a shadow of herself, only sharing certain parts.


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Field eventually ended her relationship with Reynolds

After Smokey and the Bandit, Field and Reynolds appeared in a few more movies together, even when their romance was “off.” The couple stayed together on and off for five years, and she knew things changed after a big disagreement over her decision to take a trip to Paris. They eventually broke up.

In a 2015 interview with Vanity Fair, Reynolds referred to Field as the “love of his life” and admitted he still 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 said. Reynolds died in September 2018, days before Field’s book was released.