Sally Field Admits That Burt Reynolds Wasn’t Supportive Of Her 1980 Oscar Win


In the late ’70s and early ’80s, Sally Field and Burt Reynolds had a tumultuous and widely scrutinized relationship. The duo first met on the set of the 1977 film Smokey and the Bandit, where their on-screen chemistry seamlessly transitioned into a real-life romance. Despite having a magnetic connection, their journey together was marred with intense highs and lows, which stemmed from Reynolds’s career and personal struggles before resulting in a highly publicized breakup in 1982.

In a new book, 50 Oscar Nights, that will hit the bookstores later in the month, Sally reflected on her relationship with the late White Lightning star, shedding light on the complexities and nuances of their time together while detailing how he reacted to her 1980 Oscar win.

Sally Fields says Burt Reynolds never gave her any support

Sally Fields Burt ReynoldsSally Fields Burt Reynolds
SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT, Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, 1977

In Dave Karger’s book, set to be released by January 23, the actress reminisced on a pivotal moment when Reynolds, her boyfriend at the time, expressed discontent with the attention she garnered for her portrayal of a union organizer in Norma Rae. This role gave her a major career boost and marked a significant shift from her previous image as a cheerful TV and film comedy star to a serious actor featured in major films.

Sally also noted that during the 52nd Academy Awards in 1980, where she won the Oscar for Best Actress for her role in Norma Rae, the late actor declined to accompany her as her date. She relied on the support of her actor and comedian friend, David Steinberg, and his then-wife, Judy, who graced the ceremony with her. “David said, ‘Well, for God’s sakes, we’ll take you,’” the 77-year-old explained in the book. “He and Judy made it a big celebration. They picked me up in a limousine and had champagne in the car. They made it just wonderful fun.”

Sally Fields Burt ReynoldsSally Fields Burt Reynolds
SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT II, from left: Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, 1980. ©Universal/courtesy Everett Collection

Sally further disclosed that Reynold’s lack of support for her craft began as early as when Norma Rae was set to premiere at the 1979 Cannes Film Festival. He urged her not to attend the prestigious festival, belittling her craft. “He did not want me to go to Cannes at all,” she shared. “He said, ‘You don’t think you’re going to win anything, do you?’”

The actress still misses her former boyfriend

In her memoir, In Pieces, which she released after Reynolds’ death, Sally wrote that, despite enduring emotional trauma, she still cherishes the memory she had with Reynolds. “There are times in your life that are so indelible they never fade away,” she wrote. “They stay alive, even forty years later. My years with Burt never leave my mind. He will be in my history and my heart for as long as I live.”

Sally Fields Burt ReynoldsSally Fields Burt Reynolds
SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT II, from left, Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, 1980, ©Universal/courtesy Everett Collection

In her conversation with The New York Times, she expressed satisfaction that he had passed before publishing her memoir. She acknowledged a sense of relief that he would never have the opportunity to read about how she portrayed him as controlling, drawing comparisons to her abusive stepfather. “This would hurt him, I felt glad that he wasn’t going to read it,” Sally confessed,” 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.”


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