Sally Field Pays Tribute to Burt Reynolds: 'He Will Be in My History and My Heart'

Sally Field is mourning the loss of her co-star and ex-boyfriend Burt Reynolds following his Thursday death at the age of 82.

"There are times in your life that are so indelible, they never fade away. They stay alive, even forty years later," Field said in a statement. "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."

Field and Reynolds had initially met on the set of the 1977 film Smokey and the Bandit, a role for which Reynolds told Today's Hoda Kotb he fought for Field to have after being told that she was not “sexy” enough for the role.

“She first said no. And I called her and I said, 'I know why you said no. You think it’s a silly movie with cars chasing each other and all that,” Reynolds recalled to USA Today. “But I don’t see it as that. I see it as a chance to work with the best young actress on the planet. If you want to, go ahead and say no.' And she went, 'How the hell am I going to say no to that?'”

Following the 1977 film, the co-stars went on to date for five years, as well as co-star in 1978’s Hooper and The End and 1980's Smokey and the Bandit II. In the decades following their eventual breakup, both Reynolds and Field discussed their relationship publicly, with Reynolds revealing that while they had grown distant, he still held a fondness for Field.

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

According to Field, during their time together, Reynolds had “asked me to marry him many times,” though she said no each time because she “knew his heart wasn’t in it. We’d have ended up just feeling terrible.”

In 2016, Reynolds told Event Magazine that he was still hoping that one day Field would pick up the phone and call him.

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“I did four movies with Sally and spent five years with her. She was the love of my life and I screwed the relationship up. That sense of loss never goes away. I have no idea what Sally thinks about it. She could pick up the phone and speak to me but she never does,” he said. “[Field’s son] said that his mum talks about me all the time. Maybe she'll phone me one day. I'd love to have that conversation."

Reynolds passed away Thursday morning at Jupiter Medical in Florida from a reported heart attack at the age of 82. He was surrounded by his family at the time of his death and is survived his adopted son, Quinton.