In the Norma Rae star’s upcoming memoir, In Pieces, out September 18, Field admitted the burden Reynolds’ health issues placed on her. She said his pain was visible while they filmed Smokey and the Bandit together.
“In the evenings when we were away from the set and back in the hotel, Burt’s mysterious and painful episodes seemed to be escalating,” Field wrote.
Reynolds passed away on Thursday, September 6 after going into cardiac arrest, a family member confirmed to Radar.
Field, 71, said she viewed herself as Reynolds’ nurse during their tumultuous relationship. She recalled focusing “on my need to heal something unknown.”
“It was my job to dispense the only method he had of dealing with the agony, and whenever he’d signal with a nod of his head or a raise of his eyebrow, I’d hand him a Valium, then another and another, offset by an occasional Percodan or two,” Field wrote.
Field wrote that Reynolds’ inner circle believed his episodes were related to stress.
As Radar readers know, the Hollywood icon lost 40 lbs in the 1980s, triggering a rumor that he was suffering from AIDS. In his memoir, But Enough About Me, Reynolds said his rapid health decline was a result of temporomandibular disorder, also known as TMD or TMJ, which affects the joint connecting the jaw and the skull.
Battling the disorder led to Reynolds’ addiction to painkillers, Radar reported. Instead of heading to rehab, Field’s ex decided to quit cold turkey.
But his addiction hadn’t been cured in the 80s. In 2009, Reynolds sought treatment in a rehab facility for prescription drugs and alcohol.
In the memoir, Field admitted that she put on many hats during their tumultuous relationship.
“I was part guardian, part mother and part spouse, spending the night in his room, sleeping on a chair-like futon in the corner,” Field wrote.
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