Before his death, Burt Reynolds still carried a flame for lost love Sally Field

Film and Television
Credit: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock

Before his death, Burt Reynolds still carried a flame for lost love Sally Field.

In a revealing interview given to Vanity Fair in November 2015, the screen legend called his former costar “the love of my life.

Reynolds died Thursday morning at Jupiter Medical in Florida, his manager Erik Kritzer told The Hollywood Reporter. He was 82.

Having met on the set of their film Smokey and the Bandit in 1977, the two swiftly began dating. They went on to star in four films together and dated for nearly five years before calling it quits.

“I miss her terribly,” Reynolds told the magazine at the time. “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.”

A rep for Field did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Film and Television
Burt Reynolds and Sally Field in Smokey and the Bandit
| Credit: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock

In his 2015 memoir, But Enough About Me, the actor revealed one of his biggest regrets was not making their relationship work.

That same year, Reynolds told PEOPLE he “really adored” Field, calling their relationship “real.”

“She’s very, very special,” he said. “Her mother and I… I loved her mother.”

The star said Field’s mother told him, “I know you’re going to break her heart, but please be gentle.”

“I said, ‘I don’t know how you could break somebody’s heart and be gentle, but I don’t intend to break her heart,” Reynolds said. “You never intend to.”

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight that year, Reynolds revealed he continued to speak about his feelings, saying he still missed the actress.

I do miss her. I think she was one of the most underrated actresses, you know?” he told the outlet. “She was the best actress I ever worked with.”

45th Annual Academy Awards
Burt Reynolds and Dinah Shore
| Credit: Ron Galella/WireImage

Asked about being the one who got away, Fields told EW and PEOPLE Editorial Director Jess Cagle in 2016 during a SiriusXM Town Hall, “Well, yeah.”

Reynolds was previously in a relationship with Dinah Shore, a singer and TV personality who was 20 years his senior, in the 1970s but broke things off when he realized he wanted to have kids.

“There’s nobody better,” he told PEOPLE at the time of Shore. “I never, ever heard her say anything bad about anybody. Ever. I don’t know how she did it.”

When it came to both women, “I moved on from them much too soon,” he revealed, “and they probably moved on a little too late.”

The Longest Yard actor was also married to Loni Anderson from 1988 until their separation in 1994.

Loni Anderson;Burt Reynolds [& Wife #2]
Burt Reynolds and Loni Anderson
| Credit: Time Life Pictures/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

On marrying her, Reynolds admitted the union was a mistake, telling PEOPLE in 2015 it was “a really dumb move on my part.

“I should have known that you don’t marry an actress,” he said. The two had one son together, 30-year-old Quinton Anderson Reynolds.

“She bought everything in triplicate, from everyday dresses to jewelry to china and linens,” he wrote in his memoir. “‘I never wear a dress after it has been photographed,’ she said. ‘I have to dress like a star.’”

“I gave her a platinum American Express card with a $45,000 credit limit,” he wrote. “She maxed it out in half an hour.”