Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Sally Field Claims Ex Burt Reynolds Was ‘Not a Nice Guy’

Sally Field Claims Ex Burt Reynolds Was ‘Not a Nice Guy’

Sally Field and Burt Reynolds were one of the hottest Hollywood couples at one time, but apparently, Reynolds wasn’t keen on Field’s success. Back in 1980, Field won an Oscar for her performance in the movie Norma Rae. She had been receiving a lot of attention for her work ahead of this event. Reynolds “was not happy” with Field getting all of this notoriety around it.

That’s according to a new book titled 50 Oscar Nights, authored by Dave Karger. “He really was not a nice guy around me then,” Field, 77, said in the book. Field said that before the 52nd Academy Awards ceremony, Reynolds said that he “was not going to go” along with her to the Oscars.

Sally Field, Burt Reynolds Met On Movie Set

Reynolds and Field started going together after getting to know one another while making Smokey and the Bandit. That was in 1977 and they stayed together until the early 1980s. Norma Rae was a different type of movie than the Smokey movies. Reynolds didn’t like Field being in the spotlight as she was at this time.

“He did not want me to go to Cannes [Film Festival] at all,” Field said in the book. “He said, ‘You don’t think you’re going to win anything, do you?’”

Then Oscars time hits and, well, Reynolds had just written off going with Field to it, People reports. She said to Karger that “when the Oscars came around, he really was not a nice guy around me then and was not going to go with me.” Who took Field to the event? None other than comedian David Steinberg and his then-wife Judy.

The Gidget and Flying Nun actress “didn’t know what to do” about the date situation. “Then David said, ‘Well, for God’s sakes, we’ll take you,’” Field said. “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.”

1980 Oscars Got Off On Wrong Foot For Field

In 50 Oscar Nights, Field recalled having a great time at the ceremony once it started. “I remember I went someplace and had my hair done,” she said. “I don’t believe I had anybody do my makeup. In those days you just did it yourself.”

In her memoir In Pieces, Field wrote that Reynolds “was a hugely important part of my life but for a very short period of my life… I really didn’t speak to him for the last 30 years of his life.”

She even got a little bit of a dig in on Reynolds after he died. In a 2022 interview, Field was asked who, among her male co-stars, gave the worst on-screen kiss. Field said that kissing Reynolds did involve “a lot of drooling.”

Reynolds, though, in a reflective moment, told someone that Field was the one he should have married and had kids with. Director Adam Rifkin, who directed Reynolds in The Last Movie Star, talked about Reynolds’ thoughts about the relationship with Field. Rifkin made his comments as part of a documentary titled I Am Burt Reynolds.

He asked Reynolds why he split up with Field, and he flat-out said, “I screwed up.”

Karger’s book reflects many different people’s experiences on Oscar night. It should be one of the greatest nights for actors. But it doesn’t always turn out that way. The different stories Karger brings to the book offer insights into Oscar nights for many people.