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Crime News

Sally Field Recounts Being Sexually Abused As A Child By Her Stepfather

In her new memoir, the actress reveals that her stepfather often called her into his room alone. She kept the abuse a secret from her mother for decades.

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt

Actress and director Sally Field has bared it all in her new memoir, touching on everything from her relationship with Hollywood icon Burt Reynolds to the sexual abuse she suffered as a child at the hands of her stepfather, actor and stuntman Jock Mahoney.

In her memoir “In Pieces,” scheduled for a Sept. 18 release, Field revealed that Mahoney often called her to his bedroom, alone, The New York Times reports.

“I knew,” Field wrote of the experience, 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.”

She also wrote of Mahoney, who was known then by the nickname “Jocko”: “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. He could be magical, the Pied Piper with our family as his entranced followers.”

Mahoney stopped abusing Field when she turned 14, and he and her mother divorced in 1968, according to The Times. Mahoney died in 1989, but it reportedly wasn’t until Field landed the role of Mary Todd Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s 2012 film “Lincoln” that she finally told her mother of the abuse.

Field’s memoir also touches on other instances of harassment and sexual misconduct in her life. She alleged that, during an audition for the 1976 film “Stay Hungry,” director Bob Rafelson told her that he couldn’t hire anyone “who doesn’t kiss good enough.”

“So I kissed him,” Field wrote, and got the part.

Rafelson told The Times that Field’s claim was “totally untrue.” He added, “That’s the first I’ve ever heard of this. I didn’t make anybody kiss me in order to get any part.”

According to The Times, Field also wrote about smoking marijuana with musician Jimmy Webb in 1968, only to wake up and find him on top of her, “grinding away to another melody,” Field wrote. She told The Times, however, that she didn’t think Webb’s actions that day were done out of “malicious intent.” Instead, she said, “I felt he was stoned out of his mind.”

Webb responded to Field’s recollection of the alleged incident in a statement to The Times, stating that he has not been allowed to read the passage of the book that mentions him.

“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,” he wrote in an email to The Times. He continued, “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.”

Field also wrote plenty about her relationship with her former “Smokey and the Bandit” co-star Burt Reynolds. She described her relationship with Reynolds, who recently died, as “confusing and complicated, and not without loving and caring, but really complicated and hurtful to me.” She theorized to The Times that their relationship was perhaps a way of her subconsciously trying to recreate the relationship she'd had with her stepfather.

“I was somehow exorcising something that needed to be exorcised,” she said. “I was trying to make it work this time.”

Reynolds died on Sept. 6 at the age of 82 after going into cardiac arrest. During her recent interview with The Times, Field stated that she felt “glad” that he wasn’t going to read her memoir because it would “hurt him.”

“I did not want to hurt him any further,” she said.

[Photo: Sally Field attends The Women’s Media Center 2016 Women’s Media Awards at Capitale on September 29, 2016 in New York City. By Mike Pont/WireImage via Getty Images]