By PATRICIA TOWLE
Burt Reynolds is devastated after breaking up with a Beverly Hills heiress who he has dated for two years. Burt, 69, and Kate Edelman Johnson, 65, had been living together in a trial marriage — but now the pair have called it quits after she kicked him out.
A friend of Kate’s said: “Burt is broken-hearted because he thought he had finally found the right woman. Kate not only offered Burt a place to live, but also gave him dignity and stability.
“It’s definitely over, but both are such high profile people they’re trying to keep it under wraps. “Burt and Kate knew one another for years before their romance heated up and they’re trying to remain friends after ending it.
“But I think Kate — who’s a respected philanthropist — got fed up with Burt’s unpredictable temper tantrums and finally asked him to move out of her home.”
The split comes as Burt rides a comeback with the success of The Longest Yard, which co-stars Adam Sandler and Chris Rock, and The Dukes of Hazzard, which stars Johnny Knoxville and Jessica Simpson and opens in theaters this summer.
Wealthy Kate is the widow of Warner Communications mogul Dean Johnson.
The friend said: “Some friends wonder if Burt’s foul humor at The Longest Yard‘s L.A. premiere — when he made news by slapping a critic — was due to his anxiety over the bust-up.”
Reynolds — who faced bankruptcy several years ago after a CBS lawsuit, some bad investments and his divorce from Loni Anderson — has recently seen his fortunes rise again with the release of four of his eight new films in 2005.
Said the friend: “Age hasn’t hurt Burt’s career in the least. His career is hotter now than ever.”