When Burt Reynolds and Sally Field shared the screen in 1977's Smokey and the Bandit, audiences fell in love. But so did the film's stars.
In the 1970s, both Reynolds and Field were at the height of their careers, but were also nursing their hearts after a pair of disastrous marriages in the 1960s. Field, now a single mother of two children, felt a connection to her costar right away.
“Burt was the most important influence that came into my life other than my children at the time,” she later said about the actor, who went on to star in four more films with her.
While the pair never tied the knot, they were a Hollywood power couple for five years, and it's clear that even decades later the relationship meant a lot to both of them.
“Burt was the most important thing that ever happened in my life," Field remembers. "He rescued my career and literally put me to work, he literally gave me a new lease on life.”
As for Reynolds, he gushed about his relationship with Field during the tour for his autobiography But Enough About Me in 2015. “I think we would have been very happy,” he said about spending the rest of his life with Field.
“If anybody asks about that period of my life, it was a wonderful time. I was — and still am — very proud of her."
So what came between these two lovebirds if their relationship was so strong they still cherish it 40 years later? That's just another twist in their unique Hollywood love story.
Despite finding fame as an actress, Field remembered being stubbornly humble about her good looks - until she met Reynolds.
“He gave me a feeling that I was sexy, and I wanted to be everything he ever wanted,” the actress remembered. But she says that also proved to be a downside of their relationship as the years went on.
"Because what happened is that I stopped existing. I dressed for him, looked for him, walked for him.”
While Reynolds hasn't publicly addressed why his romance with Field ended, we know those years were a difficult time for the actor. After being injured on the set of his action film Sharky's Machine, Reynolds developed an addiction to prescription pain medication which lasted for years.
Despite their strong connection, both Reynolds and Field found love again after splitting up in the early '80s. Reynolds married actress Loni Anderson before divorcing over her excessive shopping habits. Meanwhile, Field married producer Alan Greisman, and had a son before they split up in 1993.
Reynolds admits his "sense of loss" about this one relationship "never goes away," but also admits he has "no idea what Sally thinks about it."
"I spoke to her son recently. He said that his mum talks about me all the time. Maybe she’ll phone me one day. I’d love to have that conversation.”
Did you realize these two were a real couple?