Loni Anderson is mourning the death of her ex-husband Burt Reynolds 25 years after their acrimonious split. The 82-year-old Deliverance and Smokey and the Bandit star passed away at a Florida hospital after going into cardiac arrest. Now, Anderson, who was married to Reynolds from 1988 to 1993 and shares a son, Quinton, with him, is thanking fans for their support in the hours after her ex’s sudden death.
In a statement to Hollywood Life, Loni Anderson and her son Quinton Anderson Reynolds said they are moved by all of the support they have received.
“Quinton and I are extremely touched by the tremendous outpouring of love and support from family and friends throughout the world. Burt was a wonderful director and actor. He was a big part of my life for twelve years and Quinton’s loving father for thirty years. We will miss him and his great laugh.”
Burt Reynolds spent 12 years with Anderson after meeting her in 1981. The couple began dating the following year and even co-starred in the 1983 movie Stroker Ace together. Reynolds married his girlfriend of six years in April 1988 in a quiet, 20-minute ceremony at his Florida ranch after giving her a massive 7-carat ring. Ann-Margret and Jim Nabors were among the 65 guests in attendance at the low-key ceremony, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Burt Reynold's ex-wife Loni Anderson pays moving tribute after actor's death https://t.co/UcONOT3liR
— Metro Entertainment (@Metro_Ents) September 7, 2018
But the marriage was not all glitz and glam, and when Reynolds served Anderson court papers five years later, their divorce became one of the nastiest in Hollywood. It ultimately took Burt Reynolds and Loni Anderson more than two decades to completely sever their financial ties. The mud-slinging during their back and forth court battle included cheating and abuse allegations and accusations of bad parenting. In September 2015, 22 years after their divorce was finalized, Burt Reynolds wrote a final $154,520 check to Anderson, marking the end of their decades-long money battle, per TMZ.
Reynolds later told People that his marriage to Anderson, who is best known for her role as sexy receptionist Jennifer Marlowe on the ’70s sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati, was a bad idea.
“I should have known that you don’t marry an actress. That was a really dumb move on my part.” Reynolds said, admitting that his wife of six years was “absolutely not” the love of his life.
In his 2015 memoir, But Enough About Me, Burt wrote about Loni Anderson’s alleged extravagant spending habits.
“She bought everything in triplicate, from everyday dresses to jewelry to china and linens,” Reynolds wrote. “‘I never wear a dress after it has been photographed,’ she said. ‘I have to dress like a star.’ I gave her a platinum American Express card with a $45,000 credit limit. She maxed it out in half an hour.”
But Anderson has contended that it was Burt who showered her with lavish gifts. In 2014, Loni Anderson auctioned off 65 items from her years with Burt Reynolds, including her 1988 wedding gown and multiple pieces of artwork. At the time, Anderson told Entertainment Weekly that Reynolds was an art lover who routinely commissioned artists to paint portraits of her.
Loni Anderson also said that, despite her nasty split from Burt Reynolds, she tried to focus on the many happy times they had together.
“If it’s a messy divorce, then you need a break and you go back and you go, ‘Well there wasn’t 12 terrible years. There was just that end,'” Anderson told EW. “So you go back and start thinking, ‘Oh, I remember that! Oh, we laughed so hard! Oh, that was so fun!'”