5 Biggest Revelations From Sally Field’s New York Times Interview

Sally Field opened up about some of her life’s darkest moments in an interview Tuesday with the New York Times.

The article arrives just a week before the Sept. 18 release of her memoir “In Pieces,” which details her life as a celebrity and her role as a mother to three sons during two different marriages. Read some of the biggest revelations from her interview below.

1. She experienced sexual abuse from her stepfather.

Field begins the interview with the story behind her 2012 speech at the Omega Institute’s Women and Power conference. During the speech, she shared how she told her mother about the sexual abuse she experienced at the hands of her stepfather. Field said she was often summoned to his bedroom alone until the abuse stopped when she turned 14.

“I was shaking all over to do it,” she said of her 2012 speech. “But I felt strengthened by that faceless mass of unknown people. When I laid it out there, I felt them giving me something back.”

2. She got a secret abortion.

Field also reveals that she underwent a secret abortion in Tijuana at the age of 17, just a couple of years before rising to fame with “Gidget” and “The Flying Nun.”

3. She had a disturbing encounter with Jimmy Webb.

In her memoir, Field recounts an experience she had with singer-songwriter Webb. After smoking a joint together and falling asleep, she woke up to Webb “on top of me, grinding away to another melody.” However, Field said she did not think Webb was acting maliciously, he was just “stoned out of his mind.”

In an email to the New York Times, Webb said that he had not been allowed to read the passage, but he did reflect on his time dating Field in the 1960s: “We hung out, we smoked pot, we had sex,” he said. He had not mentioned Field in his own book because he didn’t want to tarnish her image, he added.

4. She had to kiss Bob Rafelson to get a part.

While auditioning for the role of Mary Tate Farnsworth in “Stay Hungry,” Field said she had to kiss director Rafelson in order to get the part. According to Field, Rafelson said he couldn’t hire anyone who wasn’t a good enough kisser.

Rafelson responded, saying that Field’s recollection of the audition was false. “It’s totally untrue. That’s the first I’ve ever heard of this. I didn’t make anybody kiss me in order to get any part,” he said during a phone call with the New York Times.

5. Her relationship with Burt Reynolds wasn’t all sunshine and roses.

Field’s memory of her relationship with the late Reynolds is not the happy couple that was portrayed by the media at the time. Fields had acted alongside Reynolds in “Smokey and the Bandit” and “Hooper,” which gave rise to what Field called an immediate and intense connection.

However, Field also highlights Reynold’s controlling nature and his steady use of drugs. During the filming of “Smokey and the Bandit,” Field recounts how the actor took Percodan, Valium, and barbiturates, along with unknown injections to his chest. Looking back on it now, she said she sees the relationship as an attempt to recreate the abusive connection she had with her stepfather.

More Film

  • Mother and son bonding in Wayne

    Wayne Wang’s ‘Coming Home Again’ to be Handled by Asian Shadows (EXCLUSIVE)

    Specialty film sales agent Asian Shadows has picked up international rights to “Coming Home Again,” by Wayne Wang, one of Asia’s most celebrated directors. The film, which tackles food, family and mortality, will premiere as a special presentation at the Toronto festival in September. Based on a short story of the same name, published in [...]

  • The Great Hack (2019) - pictured:

    Film Review: 'The Great Hack'

    When I was growing up, we learned that the moral cornerstone of the First Amendment — the very essence of it — is that it’s about protecting the speech you don’t like. If the Nazis aren’t allowed to march in Skokie (a major test case in the 1970s), then a treacherous principle gets laid down: that [...]

  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Columbia Pictures claims the top spot in spending with “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Ads placed for the drama had an estimated media value of $5.71 million through Sunday for 997 national ad [...]

  • Circus of Books

    Outfest Film Review: 'Circus of Books'

    Rachel Mason grew up believing that her parents ran a small bookstore in Los Angeles. She wasn’t entirely mistaken, although the naive young woman — then an artsy teen, now a documentary filmmaker — never imagined that, as her mother Karen bluntly tells her on camera, “at one point, we were probably the biggest distributor [...]

  • Themba Ntuli and Ashley Lazarus

    Ashley Lazarus, Director of Apartheid-Era Cult Classic, Returns to Screen

    DURBAN–Director Ashley Lazarus, whose film about the interracial friendship between two young boys during the apartheid era became a South African cult classic in the 1970s, is set to return to the big screen with a film that builds on his life-long passion for early-childhood education. “Teacher Wanted” is the inspirational story of a teacher [...]

  • Channing Tatum

    Channing Tatum's Free Association Partners With Atwater Capital for Film Development Fund

    Free Association, a production company led by Channing Tatum, Peter Kiernan and Reid Carolin, has entered into a film development fund with Atwater Capital. The four-year $2 million revolving fund stipulates that Atwater will finance a minimum of five films with Free Association. Michael Parets, VP of production, will oversee the deal. Free Association will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content