“There are times in your life that are so indelible, they never fade away. They stay alive, even forty years later,” Field, 71, said in a statement sent to HuffPost. “My years with Burt never leave my mind. He will be in my history and my heart, for as long as I live. Rest, Buddy.”
The actors first met on the set of “Smokey and the Bandit” in 1977 and soon began dating. They went on to star in four films together and dated on and off for five years.
Despite calling it quits in 1982, Reynolds revealed in 2015 that Field was “the love of his life” and that he still missed her “terribly.”
“Even now, it’s hard on me,” he told Vanity Fair. “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.”
Field had been more tight-lipped about her feelings about Reynolds and their former romance.
In response to his Vanity Fair interview, Field told People at the time, “I have no response, really, and any response I would have would belong to him.”
Field was asked again about Reynolds still holding a torch for her during “The Jess Cagle Interview” on Sirius XM in 2016, and the Oscar-winning actress said that the two didn’t “really talk to each other” anymore.
It was then mentioned to Field in the interview: “He often says you’re the one that got away. He loves to say that.” To which Field simply said: “Well, yeah.”
Reynolds died Thursday morning in his Florida home of cardiac arrest. He is survived by his son, Quinton, and his former wife, actress Loni Anderson.