Burt Reynolds’ hellish divorce saga

His second marriage to Loni Anderson brought Burt Reynolds bankruptcy and a 22-year headache.


Can I have your credit card, honey?

Burt Reynolds, though he once posed nude for Cosmopolitan (a decision he later regretted), is less narcissistic and self-obsessed than most film stars. He tells stories against himself without a hint of self-pity. In his just-published memoirs (But Enough About Me), for example, he describes making a comedy called Fuzz with Raquel Welch in 1972. She was furious because he was given top billing and told the producer: "I will not work with him. I will not be on the same stage."

So Reynolds would come to work and "Raquel's double would be there instead, with her back to the camera". He would say his lines to the double and the director would say "cut", and then, when he was driving away from the studio, the guard would pick up the phone and say: "He's leaving now." Welch would at this point go in and say her lines to a double of Reynolds. "We made the whole movie like that, never together in the same scene. Put it this way: we don't send each other Christmas cards."

Reynolds's second marriage to the actress Loni Anderson was a disaster. He suffered bankruptcy, foreclosure (on his Florida mansion) and the ignominy of having to auction off a lot of his memorabilia just to end "the hellish 22-year saga of his divorce", saysToby Harnden in The Sunday Times. Loni spent money "like it was sand": once, Reynolds gave her an American Express credit card and it took her half an hour to "max" it out. The card limit was $45,000.

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"I'm one of those people who has to be kicked in the head by a horse before I realise it's too much for me," Reynolds told Harnden. "It's amazing we don't see those things when we get married, isn't it?" Perhaps not quite so amazing in this case. In his autobiography he recounts that his best man, an American football player, asked as they arrived at the chapel if he really wanted to go through with the marriage? No, said Reynolds. But what choice did he have? "My mom loves Loni." "I hate to break this to you," said his best man, "but your mom can't stand Loni." He married her anyway.

No jobs for the boys

I doubt Reynolds would have much sympathy for the female stars in Hollywood currently making a fuss about being under-appreciated. Reese Witherspoon and Cate Blanchett have been taking it in turns, as Giles Coren noted in The Times, to condemn the pairing of young actresses with older men, especially in a romantic context. In fact, they've got "the whole thing arse about tit", says Coren. The group suffering most from this "iniquitous age imbalance" is young men. Why are actresses cast in juicy leading roles when they're so young while men have to wait till they're older?

Jamie Dornan is seven years older than his Fifty Shades of Grey co-star Dakota Johnson, for example. How sexist "that no 26-year-old actor was judged mature enough to take on the spanking of 26-year-old Dakota Johnson, forcing producers to wheel in the wizened 33-year-old JamieDornan".

Tabloid money: Ol' Red Eyes, crooning and cocaine

"Christmas catalogues have started to plop through our doors and I'm bombarded with swanky ones for expensive department stores I'd never think of visiting," says Louise Mensch in The Sun. "But as I idly flicked through the clothes pages, I started getting more and more angry. All the girls were wafer-thin no surprise there. But they were also scowling. Every fashion magazine shows the model staring moodily into the distance or glancing down."

Victoria's Secret is using younger "Angels", but at least they "get to crack a smile or two. They also have visible breasts and derrieres you need that to sell lingerie! Perhaps the calories that come with maintaining a visibly female body give them the energy to crack a smile."

"Frank Sinatra has long been suspected to have had Mafia connections," says Jane Moore in The Sun. But now the son of infamous Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar has claimed that the crooner also worked with his father and was "a better cocaine dealer than singer". "Perhaps Ol' Red Eyes' might be an appropriate moniker from now on."

"I didn't share the eyebrow-raising at Labour MP Diane Abbott advertising herself through speaking agencies at £5,000 a time," says Kelvin MacKenzie in The Sun. "She would be worth it, and possibly more, if she would speak to one of the following subjects: 1) Why, as a lifelong left-winger, I rejected excellent comprehensives in my area and sent my son to a private school. 2) My fling with Jeremy Corbyn and what he's like in the sack. 3) Why a decade after I first said it I still believe that blonde, blue-eyed Finnish girls' are unsuitable to be nurses at my local hospital because they have never met a black person. She'd pack the house out."