Burt Reynolds Tells Hoda Kotb Why Sally Field Was the ‘One That Got Away’


On March 15, actor Burt Reynolds, 82, appeared on the Today Show for an interview with Hoda Kotb to discuss his upcoming movie.

After he answered questions about his acting career, Kotb asked him who the love of his life was.

Reynolds has been in relationships with numerous stars over the years, including Dinah Shore, Loni Anderson, and Adrienne Barbeau.

But his answer to Kotb’s question was none other than the leading lady in his movie “Smokey and the Bandit.”

In his cryptic message he said, “Well, she was seven when I fell in love with her. She stayed seven for about 11 years. I would say, Sally.”

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“Sally Field?” Kotb asked, hoping to clarify his answer. “No, Sally Wolfergosh.” Reynolds joked. “Yes, Sally Field.”

Reynolds requested Field to be in the movie with him, and while producers were hesitant to hire her at first, he fought for her because he knew she was talented. The pair fell in love on set and dated for five years before ending things in 1980.

They also went on to star together in multiple movies following “Smokey,” including “Hooper” and “The End” in 1978 and “Smokey and the Bandit II” in 1980.

This interview isn’t the first time Reynolds has spoken about Sally as “the one that got away.”

“It was one of the great regrets of my life. I had never had a great love affair like that,” he said in an interview with Access.

The two had thought about marriage multiple times, both proposing to one another on different occasions, but the timing never seemed right for either of them.

“I don’t know why I was so stupid,” he said in years following the split. “Men are like that, you know. You find the perfect person, and then you do everything you can to screw it up.”

“I think we would have been very happy,” he said in an interview with Closer Weekly. “If anybody asks about that period of my life, it was a wonderful time. I was — and still am — very proud of her.”

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Field has also spoken highly of Reynolds in previous years, crediting him as “the most important influence that came into my life other than my children at the time.”

But the actress also revealed what went wrong in the relationship, and why things wouldn’t have turned out well for them.

“I wanted to be everything he ever wanted,” Field said. That was terrible because what happened is that I stopped existing.”

“He asked me to marry him many times, [but] I knew his heart wasn’t in it,” she said. “We’d have ended up just feeling terrible.”

In recent years, Reynolds and Field have not kept in touch. But Reynolds has revealed that Field sent him “sweet messages,” telling him to “be happy” and “get a girl.”

“You don’t want to get a girl, you want her,” the Access interviewer prompted.

“I’m still looking for her,” Reynolds replied. “You know, they don’t make them like that.”

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Liz was a senior story editor for The Western Journal.
Liz was a senior story editor for The Western Journal.
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