Fans were saddened to learn of the death of Burt Reynolds last week, but for one of his former co-stars, there is an unfortunate silver lining. Sally Field, who starred alongside Reynolds in the classic Smokey and the Bandit, is about to publish her memoir, In Pieces, and in the book, she discusses the production of the movie as well as her subsequent personal relationship with the actor. It seems that things were far from perfect between the two and Field is now glad that Reynolds will never know what she says about him in the book, as she wouldn't have wanted to put him in the position of having to defend himself in the press. According to Field...
This would hurt him. I felt glad that he wasn't going to read it, he wasn't going to be asked about it, and he wasn't going to have to defend himself or lash out, which he probably would have. I did not want to hurt him any further.
In the book, as described by the New York Times, Sally Field calls Burt Reynolds controlling during their relationship and only able accept certain aspects of her life while disapproving of others. She also claims that during the filming of Smokey and the Bandit, Reynolds was taking Percodan, Valium, and barbiturates, and also received regular injections of something in his chest. She says she urged him to seek professional help for problems with stress and anxiety, but that he refused.
Personal memoirs almost always bring up the less flattering parts of peoples' lives, it's part of being honest about your own, and the lives and careers of Burt Reynolds and Sally Field are so connected that you can't talk about one without bringing up the other. Sally Field doesn't only have negative things to say about Reynolds, she does say their relationship was also loving and caring, but nobody's life is perfect.
Sally Field is glad that Burt Reynolds will no longer need to respond to her statements in the book, and it's very likely that he would have needed to do so. He was set to co-star in Quentin Tarantino's upcoming movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which would have thrust him back into the public eye and placed him before the media once again. Clearly, somebody would have asked him about what the book said.
While her relationship with Burt Reynolds may not have been perfect, it's clear Sally Field still cared for him, because she wasn't looking to use the book to hurt him. She's glad that it won't now, which is certainly still sad, but also sweet in its own way.