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Burt Reynolds Gushes Sally Field Is the Love of His Life: "She Was 7 When I Fell in Love With Her"

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Though it's been years since they were a couple, Burt Reynolds admits he's still in love with his former co-star and girlfriend Sally Field. When Burt was asked during a new interview who the love of his life was, the 82-year-old Hollywood icon candidly opened up about his five-year romance with Sally, 71.

"You've had an incredible career [with] so many great roles and so many great loves," Today co-anchor Hoda Kotb said during her Thursday, March 15 sit-down with Burt. "But I've always wondered; when I think about the women in your life — who would you consider the love of your life?" Burt then replied, " You're naughty, you really are. I'm dead in the water, no matter what I say. Well, she was [age] seven when I fell in love with her and she stayed seven for about 11 years. I would say, Sally."

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Burt and Sally first starred on-screen together in 1977's Smokey and the Bandit and subsequently dated for five years. While speaking with Hoda on Today, the actor remembered fighting to get Sally cast in the movie. "I wanted her really bad for Smokey and [the filmmakers] said, 'Well, she's not sexy.' And I said, 'You don't get it, talent is sexy.' And she's got that," he said. After Smokey, the duo co-starred in two 1978 flicks, Hooper and The End, and Smokey and the Bandit II in 1980.

This interestingly isn't the first time Burt has spoken out about his past romance with Sally. During an exclusive interview with Closer Weekly, he revealed, "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." Sally has also praised Burt in the past. "Burt was the most important influence that came into my life other than my children at the time," she has said.

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"He gave me a feeling that I was sexy, and I wanted to be everything he ever wanted. [But] that was terrible because what happened is that I stopped existing. I dressed for him, looked for him, walked for him. He asked me to marry him many times, [but] I knew his heart wasn’t in it. We’d have ended up just feeling terrible," she shared. In the years following their breakup, Burt has said, "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."

Sadly, Burt and Sally are no longer close and have not spoken in years. When once asked if she keeps in touch with Burt today, Sally replied, "We don't really talk to each other, no. When subsequently asked about Burt once declaring her "the one that got away," Sally quipped, "Well, yeah." Burt recently told Closer he still loves Sally "very much." He continued, "I wish I could stay in touch with [her], but I live in Florida."

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

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