In 1977, Burt Reynolds cruised on the silver screen in what is now known as one of his most iconic films, Smokey and the Bandit. Reynolds played the Bandit, a legendary truck driver tasked with bootlegging beer to Georgia.
On his adventures, the Bandit meets a runaway bride named Carrie, who comes to be known as “Frog.” Played by Sally Field, Frog eventually falls in love with the Bandit, and the two share some romantic moments together.
In real life, the Bandit and Frog were also in love. After meeting on the set of the film, Reynolds and Field began dating.
Reynolds and Field starred in several more movies together during the course of their relationship. But after nearly five years of dating, the couple split.
However, decades after he and Field called it quits, Reynolds made it clear that he still loved her. During an interview with Vanity Fair in 2015, he called her the “love of my life.”
“I miss her terribly,” he said. “Even now, it’s hard on me. 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.”
Even though their relationship ended years ago, the feelings that Reynolds and Field had for each other always remained. This is something that Field made clear when she reacted to the sad news that Reynolds had passed away on Thursday (September 6).
Field released a statement to People about Reynolds’ death, in which she expressed her fondness and never-fading feelings for the man she once loved:
“There are times in your life that are so indelible, they never fade away. They stay alive, even forty years later. 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.”
Although Reynolds may be gone, we know that Field’s words ring true. He will always be part of our history, and his memory will forever be in our hearts.
May “the Bandit” rest in peace.