Sally Field’s Son Reveals Conversation They Had About His Queerness Made It Onto Her Show ‘Brothers & Sisters’

Sally Field is a Hollywood legend, having worked in the industry since the early 1960s. With a career spanning close to six full decades, it’s no surprise that Sally has been honored and recognized for her incredible work and talent over the years. She has been a knockout star in films and television series and has also shown her strengths as a director. On top of that, Sally has a beautiful heart of gold and has dedicated time to being an activist.

Sally was born on Nov. 8, 1946, in Pasadena, California. Her father served in the military during World War II, and his relationship with Sally’s mom, actress Margaret Field, didn’t last.

Sally went on to establish herself as an outstanding actress. She first starred in television shows, including “Gidget” and “The Flying Nun.”

Afterward, she received critical acclaim for her role in “Sybil” and went on to star in a plethora of films. Some of Sally’s finest include “Smokey and the Bandit,” “Norma Rae,” “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “Forrest Gump.” Sally later returned to television to find even more fame and recognition as she continued her long-lasting wave of success.

Sally’s personal life has been just as busy as her career. She first married Steven Craig in 1968. The couple has two sons – Peter Craig and Eli Craig – who followed in their mother’s footsteps into show business. Peter is a novelist and screenwriter, while Eli is an actor and director. Sally and Craig divorced in 1975 after being separated for two years. The actress later married Alan Greisman in 1984. They had one son named Sam Greisman before divorcing in 1994. While all her children mean the world to Sally, her youngest, Sam has been particularly vocal about his love for her and why he’s a self-professed “momma’s boy.”

Sally’s career kicked off right after school when she starred as the titular character in the TV show “Gidget,” where she played a boy-crazy surfer girl. Although the show wasn’t initially successful and only ran for one season, reruns helped it become a belated success. Sally went on to star in “The Flying Nun” and later “Sybil,” which earned her an Emmy Award before she made the jump to movies.

By the end of the 1970s, her movie career had picked up steam, and she was known for “Smokey and the Bandit,” as well as her Academy Award-winning turn in “Norma Rae.” She continued gracing the screen with roles in “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “Forrest Gump,” and later returned to television in “ER” and “Brothers & Sisters.”

Sally began dating her “Smokey and the Bandit” co-star, Burt Reynolds, in the ’70s. They appeared in several other films together and seemed like a match made in heaven. Sally described her relationship with Reynolds in her 2018 memoir “In Pieces” as a “perfect match of flaws,” according to Country Living.

She also wrote in the book:

“By the time we met, the weight of his stardom had become a way for Burt to control everyone around him, and from the moment I walked through the door, it was a way to control me. … Blindly I fell into a rut that had long ago formed in my road, a pre-programmed behavior as if in some past I had pledged a soul-binding commitment to this man.”

The pair were together for five tumultuous years before calling it quits. After they separated, Sally chose not to stay in contact with him, but prior to his passing in 2018, Reynolds revealed he still loved her.

In 2015, Reynolds described Sally as the “love of my life” in a Vanity Fair interview. He added:

“I miss her terribly. 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.”

The “Gunsmoke” star reiterated the feeling in a March 2018 interview with Today but Sally never responded publicly to his show of affection until after his passing in September 2018 at the age of 82.

In a sit-down with Diane Sawyer, Sally responded to his regrets about their relationship and said she was “always flattered when he said that,” but that “he was a complicated man.” Sally recounted:

“We’d known each other about three days, four days (when we filmed ‘Smokey and the Bandit’). It was instantaneous and four days felt like four years. You can see it in our faces. We were sort of, you know, deeply entangled. The nature of it wasn’t just, ‘Oh this is a love affair.’ There was some ingredient between us having to do with my care-taking and him needing to be taken care of.”

Sally had talked about their relationship with fondness in the past, but it was always tinged with toxicity. She had previously told Closer Weekly that Reynolds made her feel desirable and “gave me a feeling that I was sexy, and I wanted to be everything he ever wanted,” but their romance was not meant to last. She explained to the outlet:

“What happened is that I stopped existing. I dressed for him, looked for him, walked for him. He asked me to marry him many times, (but) I knew his heart wasn’t in it. We’d have ended up just feeling terrible.”

After her relationship with Reynolds ended in the ’80s, Sally married producer Alan Greisman. However, they divorced in 1994. Since then, Sally has never remarried, instead choosing to focus on her career and her children.

Now, Sally has found satisfaction in being a doting mother to her three sons, and a grandmother to five children, all of whom she told Closer Weekly was her whole “existence.” She added:

“I’m not married; I’m not the kind of person that has a life separate from them. That’s my family. That’s my everything.”

While she has accomplished so much in the professional sphere and is still going strong, her family remains her proudest achievement in life.

“The three things I’m most proud of in my life are my sons,” Sally told the outlet. “They are kind, loving, productive people. Each with their own list of talents and accomplishments.”

In 2018, Sally sat down with Live Talks LA to chat about her memoir and revealed the ups and downs of her love life have caused her to “examine that pattern,” Closer Weekly reported her as saying. She added she, however, had no regrets and wouldn’t turn back the clock.

“I’m really happy with how I am, and I really don’t want to pick up your underwear in the morning, you know?” she said and added she’s realized she doesn’t “want to start again. I really like not worrying about someone else’s dinner.”

She shared that her time unattached had taught her to love herself more. “Ultimately, what we have is just aloneness, and that sounds terrible, but it’s really glorious. Because if you are all together inside yourself, owning yourself, and all the pieces are put together, you keep great company with yourself. You’re not alone in your aloneness — you’re together with yourself,” she explained.

As for the focus on her career, it paid off incredibly well for Sally. To date, she is the recipient of two Academy Awards, two Bafta Film Award nominations, three Primetime Emmy Awards, two Golden Globes, two SAG Awards, including her most recent Lifetime Achievement Award in 2023, and a Tony nomination.

She received her SAG Lifetime Achievement Award in February 2023 from her “The Amazing Spider-Man” co-star, Andrew Garfield, who gushed about her before introducing her onstage. He said, “You never drink the Kool-Aid of your brilliance. You never get high on your own supply. But tonight we’re going to try to make you,” before holding her in a tight embrace.

Sally was nothing but humble and grateful in her acceptance speech.

“Offstage I felt shy and careful and hidden. But onstage I never knew what I would say or do. I would surprise myself. I wasn’t looking for the applause, or attention, even though that’s nice,” she confessed. “Acting, to me, has always been about finding those few, precious moments when I feel totally, utterly, sometimes dangerously alive. The task has always been to find a way to get to that.”

Sally’s speech was a testament to her beauty, both inside and outside. The latter was highlighted in her appearance at the ceremony, where she confidently rocked her graying hair with her intricately-designed black gown.

Fans also praised Sally for acknowledging her white privilege during her speech. Sally said:

“I was a little white girl with a pug-nose born in Pasadena, California. And when I look around this room tonight, I know my fight ― as hard as it was ― was lightweight compared to some of yours. I thank you and I applaud you.”

Another huge fan of Sally is her very own son, Sam. When her youngest child came out as gay, Sally had her son’s back every step of the way. When Sam presented his mother with the Ally for Equality Award at the Human Rights Campaign Gala in 2012, he said:

“When I came out, she didn’t bat an eye. In fact, she was overjoyed. Being gay was just one more thing she loved about me. She couldn’t be more supportive of me; if anything, I wish she was a little less supportive of me.”

He revealed he felt “very blessed to be able to call her my mother. In addition to being an extraordinarily talented actress, I know that she will have my back for as long as she lives. There are a lot of young gay men out there who would kill to have her as a mom and a lot of parents of gay children who could learn a lot from her.”

He added, “Growing up in my home however, my mom made it better, especially, for me. She grounded me to the person I am meant to be, whether gay or straight. She’d still love me if I were straight. I think. She is my constant champion and I am more than happy to share her with every family who believes in equality as strongly as we do.”

Sally is indeed fiercely protective of her children and backs them when they need her most.

“It’s important to have a parent speak about raising a magnificent, proud, intelligent, funny, lovable, sexy gay son,” she said in 2012. “There are so many parents who are frightened of that and who don’t embrace their children as they struggle to… embrace who they are, what nature intended them to be.”

In February 2023, Sam penned a heartfelt letter in tribute to his mother published by People. He wrote:

“I’ve always been a momma’s boy — painfully, occasionally ashamedly so. Perhaps too obsessed with her. Maybe it’s because I’m the youngest, by 16 years. Maybe it’s because I was a shy little kid and my mom was a safe space; a hip I was attached to. Maybe it’s because gay men feel a certain undeniable affection for award-winning actresses. Who knows! Whatever it is, we have always been incredibly close.”

He also revealed how a deep conversation he had with his mother about his queerness actually ended up in her show “Brothers and Sisters” almost verbatim for a scene with her and Matthew Rhys. “Still waiting on a retroactive writing credit on that, if I’m being perfectly honest,” Sam joked.

He also recounted the moment he found out his mom had been nominated for her third Oscar in 2012. “‘Congratulations,’ I said. She hugged me. ‘I did it, Sammy,’ she whispered. Though my mother has always been my protector, it’s moments like those that have been the greatest gift. To see her as more than ‘my mom,’ chances to see her as her own person, with her own wishes and desires and vulnerabilities.”

He described her as his inspiration in life and said:

“She has given me the chance to see her as a woman and an artist, always striving to be better, always looking around the next bend, willing to be vulnerable. She’s taught me what it means to have passions, how to dedicate yourself to a craft — to be willing to care, no matter how much you achieve, even if it breaks your heart.”

How sweet is Sally’s relationship with Sam? Do you share a special connection with your youngest child, too? Let us know, and pass this on to your family, friends and other Sally Field fans!

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