Sally Field Recalls Her Stepfather's Abuse and Getting an Abortion as a Teen

The legendary actress shares many personal stories in her upcoming member, In Pieces.

By Samantha Schnurr Sep 11, 2018 4:36 PMTags
Sally FieldWalter McBride/WireImage

For her memoir, Sally Field was an open book. 

The iconic Oscar winner has spent most of her life in the spotlight, but despite all those years of public life, there are some things the 71-year-old star has managed to keep private—until now. According to The New York Times, Field divulges a number of personal revelations in her upcoming new memoir, In Pieces, including the abuse she suffered at the hand of her stepfather and the secret abortion she had in Mexico at 17.

In 1952, her mother Margaret Field got remarried to actor Jock Mahoney. "It would have been so much easier if I'd only felt one thing, if Jocko had been nothing but cruel and frightening. But he wasn't," Field wrote in her memoir of Mahoney, according to the Times. "He could be magical, the Pied Piper with our family as his entranced followers."


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According to the newspaper's report, Mahoney often "summoned" the actress to his bedroom alone. "I knew," Field wrote, according to the Times. "I felt both a child, helpless, and not a child. Powerful. This was power. And I owned it. But I wanted to be a child—and yet." 

While it's unclear when the abuse began, according to the Times, Field said it stopped when she was 14 and her mother and Mahoney later divorced in 1968. 

It was not until decades later, after Field scored her award-winning role as Mary Todd Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's 2012 Lincoln, that she told her mother about the abuse, according to the Times

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Field also described an alleged encounter with songwriter Jimmy Webb, whom she claimed she woke up to on top of her "grinding away to another melody" after smoking a joint together in 1968, according to the Times

"I felt he was stoned out of his mind," she told the Times, noting that she did not think he acted with "malicious intent."

In response, Webb told the newspaper, "I am being asked to respond to a passage in a book that the publishers refuse to let me read, even at my lawyer's request, so all I can do is recount my memories of dating Sally in the swingin' 1960s. Sally and I were young, successful stars in Hollywood. We dated and did what 22-year-olds did in the late 60s—we hung out, we smoked pot, we had sex."

As he continued in the statement, "I have great memories of our times together and great respect for Sally—so much respect that I didn't write about her in my book because I didn't want to tarnish her Gidget image with our stories of drugs and sex."


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She further claimed in the book that director Bob Rafelson allegedly said that he couldn't hire anyone "who doesn't kiss good enough" when she was auditioning for Stay Hungry. "So I kissed him," Field wrote, according to the Times. "It must have been good enough."  

Rafelson denied the claim, telling the newspaper, "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."

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A memoir about Field's life would not be complete without mention of one of her most famous relationships with Burt Reynolds, who passed away last week. She told the Times their relationship was "confusing and complicated, and not without loving and caring, but really complicated and hurtful to me."

In the book, the star describes Reynolds as both "swaggering and charismatic," according to the Times, but also controlling and unable to accept everything about her. She also reportedly wrote of his alleged use of Percodan, Valium and barbiturates while making Smokey and the Bandit as well as some sort of chest injections.

While he got examined at the Miami Heart Institute as planned by Field, she wrote he rebuffed her suggestions to get therapy for stress and anxiety. She further told the Times that, through their relationship, Field was "somehow exorcising something that needed to be exorcised" after her stepfather's abuse. "I was trying to make it work this time," she said. 

"This would hurt him," she told the newspaper of the book. "I felt glad that he wasn't going to read it, he wasn't going to be asked about it, and he wasn't going to have to defend himself or lash out, which he probably would have. I did not want to hurt him any further."