The hidden agony of America's girlfriend: Sally Field was abused by her stepfather, movie star

Sally Field forged a brilliant career as the bride of the United States, represented here as a young actress in 1967.

With her big brown eyes, button nose and affectionately sad smile, Sally Field forged a brilliant career as the bride of the United States, the future winner of the double Oscar who became famous as a teenage television star.

It took Field more than 50 years, and nothing less than Burt Reynolds' love for life, finally reveals that his first years were actually ruined by the terrible darkness.

Her stepfather, Jock Mahoney, the Hollywood double and the Westerns star and two Tarzan movies, sexually abused her for years as a child.

Sally Field forged a brilliant career as the bride of the United States, represented here as a young actress in 1967.

Sally Field forged a brilliant career as the bride of the United States, represented here as a young actress in 1967.

"It would have been much easier if I had felt one thing, if Jock Mahoney had not been more than cruel and scary," he recalls. "But he was not." It could be magical, the Pied Piper of Hamelin, with our family as his followers in trance.

The abuse stopped after Field turned 14.

She tells in an amazing new autobiography, In Pieces, how Mahoney would call her pretty little stepdaughter to go alone to her room.

"I knew it," he writes. "I felt at the same time a child, helpless, and not a child, powerful, this was power, and I possessed it, but I wanted to be a child, and still."

If that does not paint a disturbingly complicated picture of their mixed emotions, it also reveals that in his celebrated romance with Burt Reynolds, he was trying to recreate a version of his twisted relationship with his stepfather.

"I was exorcising something that needed to be exorcised," he told the New York Times. "I was trying to make it work this time."

Reynolds died last week and Field says she's glad she was saved from her revelations, apparently including drug-fueled sex and undergoing a secret abortion in Mexico when she was only 17 years old.

The actor of the sexual symbol star probably would not have rejoiced to know that the woman he worshiped equaled his relationship with the one he had had with a pedophile stepfather.

Field also reveals the extent of what she says was Reynolds' drug taking as they prepared together the 1977 action comedy Smokey And The Bandit, and that, despite her quiet reputation, was controlling and emotionally abusive. She describes their five years together as "really complicated and harmful".

The smiling little actress, now 71, rose to fame as the cheery star of two sitcoms, The Flying Nun and Gidget, and won two Oscars by Norma Rae and Places In The Heart, in which she played women hard but affectionate. .

Field, who described herself as timid to the point of being a hermit, says it took years to overcome her natural reticence and internalization of her abuse.

Sally Field (left) in the photo above with her stepfather Jock Mahoney (center) and Rick Field (right) in 1952

Sally Field (left) in the photo above with her stepfather Jock Mahoney (center) and Rick Field (right) in 1952

Sally Field (left) in the photo above with her stepfather Jock Mahoney (center) and Rick Field (right) in 1952

"Something was growing in me, this urgency that was gangrenous, and I could not find it," he says in an interview to promote his book. "I could barely breathe and I could not settle down."

She is a champion of women's rights, but she only told her mother, actress Margaret Field, what Jock Mahoney had done to her shortly before her death in 2011.

Field's father, Richard Field, was an army captain, but he and Margaret divorced in 1950 when Field was four years old. Margaret married Mahoney a year later.

& # 39; Jocko & # 39; It was Hollywood's most successful double action (doubling for Errol Flynn, Gregory Peck and John Wayne) before the industry saw its potential as an actor. He acted in two Western television series and played Tarzan in two films.

The 1978 film on doubles, Hooper, in which Field acted alongside Burt Reynolds, was based primarily on Mahoney's career.

Margaret Field divorced Jocko, with whom she had a daughter, Princess, in 1968. She died in 1989. Field does not reveal why Mahoney stopped abusing her when she turned 14, but in previous interviews she indicated that it was more or less the time in that she started having parties screaming with him.

A decade ago he told Oprah Winfrey that Mahoney was so volatile that he once threw her through his garden. She never mentioned sexual abuse and insisted that physical violence was rare. "He was really big and handsome, he was terrified of him and madly in love with him," he said.

"Unfortunately, that stayed with me as I grew up: I was only attracted to the men I feared and loved simultaneously." My stepfather was both cruel and loving, and therefore, our relationship was very confusing. danger all the time. "

The emotional abuse was worse, he added. "When I was 14 or 15 years old, I would literally stand at the coffee table to look at this 6-foot-5 man in the face and yell at him, during my adolescence, that was the only communication that could have been between us."

Sally Field had acted with Burt Reynolds in the film & # 39; Smokey and the Bandit & # 39;

Sally Field had acted with Burt Reynolds in the film & # 39; Smokey and the Bandit & # 39;

Sally Field had acted with Burt Reynolds in the film & # 39; Smokey and the Bandit & # 39;

Field also confided to Oprah that Mahoney and Burt Reynolds were "similar." . . in many ways & # 39;

The actress has raised three children through two marriages (first with her high school boyfriend Steven Craig and then with film producer Alan Greisman) that both ended in divorce.

She could have had more children, she now reveals, if she had not gone to the Mexican border city of Tijuana at age 17 to have a secret abortion (it was then illegal in the US). She remembers how terrified she was and how she could have died. A few weeks later, she assumed the role of Gidget, a sweet and virgin teen surfer girl.

Field says the ending was the culmination of a sexual awakening in his adolescence when he felt he was "coming out of my own brain."

His problems with the men had not ended with his stepfather gone. She recalls a disturbing incident when she was 21 years old with singer and songwriter Jimmy Webb. After they shared a cannabis joint, he woke up and found Webb & # 39; over me, squeaking. & # 39;

She told the New York Times that she did not think Webb had acted with "malicious intentions, I felt he had gone crazy".

Webb, whose songs include Glen Campbell beating Wichita Lineman and Galveston, complained that his lawyer had unsuccessfully requested to read the passage from Field's next book.

"All I can do is tell my memories of dating Sally in the sixties of Swingin," he said. "Sally and I were young and successful stars in Hollywood, we did what we did 22 years ago in the late sixties: we went out, we smoked marijuana, we had sex."

He said he had "great memories of our times together and great respect for Sally", so much that he had never revealed "our stories about drugs and sex" so as not to "smear" his healthy image.

Field also provides another story that will ignite the #MeToo movement, telling how Bob Rafelson, director of the 1976 sitcom Stay Hungry, made a sordid demand before giving him a leading role.

At the end of his audition, he told her that he could not hire anyone "who did not kiss enough," she says. Then I kissed him. It must have been good enough.

As a single mother at the time, she says she had to do everything she could to support her family. Rafelson says his accusation is "totally false."

Field did not need any incentive to kiss Burt Reynolds. The robust sexual symbol wanted her to star alongside him in Smokey And The Bandit, objecting to the objections of the producers that she was not "sexy". They went on to have a relationship of five years, of which the last two years were "intermittent," says Field.

Reynolds, whose conquests included Faye Dunaway and Farrah Fawcett, described Field as "the love of my life," and the failure of his adventure, which he admitted was his fault, as "the greatest remorse of my life."

Although Field admits that she was "flooded with feelings and nostalgia" for him when she died last week at 82, she makes it clear that she does not share her sunny memories.

She described her relationship this week to a radio station as a "perfect combination of failures." Field says that she felt that her immediate and intense connection with the charismatic and swaggering Reynolds was rooted in her similarity to her dominant stepfather.

Reynolds had been a preformed routine on my way, and I could not see it coming and I did not know how to get out, "he says.

Because of her abusive relationship with Jock Mahoney, "in my mind, to be seen, to be loved, I also had to be terrified and I could never tell what I was really feeling."

Reynolds admitted that he waged a long battle against drugs. Field remembers how the actor was using a variety of potent and potentially addictive opioid analgesics while preparing Smokey, and sometimes receiving mysterious injections in the chest.

When I used to have therapy for stress and anxiety, I dismissed it as "self-deceiving poppycock".

She says she became "invisible" to Reynolds, who even insisted that she should not attend the 1977 Emmy Awards, where she won a prize for the lead actress for her role as mental illness teacher in the television drama Sybil.

Instead of speaking for herself and demanding that she attend a ceremony for a role she considered the best, she saw him alone on television with the sound off so as not to offend her lover.

Field, apparently, who liked to claim that she was just an "old-fashioned girl", has finally cleared up the old-fashioned ugliness of Hollywood.