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Sally Field calls Burt Reynolds 'a complicated man'

Actress writes about Reynolds' struggle with panic attacks in new memoir

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NEW YORK – Actress Sally Field reflected on the recent death of Burt Reynolds in an interview with ABC News Monday.

Reynolds, who died on Sept. 6 at his home in Palm Beach County, famously said in interviews that Field was "the love of my life. ... The most special woman I've ever dated."

"I was always flattered when he said that," she said. "But he was a complicated man."

Field met him after he chose her to star alongside him in the 1977 film "Smokey and the Bandit." Their connection was immediate, Field said.

"We'd known each other about three days, four days at that point," she said, as she watched a scene from "Smokey and the Bandit." "But ... it was instantaneous, and four days felt like four years. ... You can see in our faces. We were sort of deeply entangled."

"And the nature of it wasn't just, 'Oh, this is a love affair,'" she continued. "There was some ingredient between us having to do with my caretaking and him needing to be taken care of."

In her new book, "In Pieces," Field writes about Reynolds' struggle with panic attacks and taking pills to tame them, she says.

After Reynolds died, Field issued a statement, saying, "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."

"Buddy," she said, was not a nickname she had given him, but what everyone in his family called him when he was a young boy.

"It's like the little boy of him, I wanted to finally rest," she said.