Burt Reynolds has been devastated by the death of ex-wife Judy Carne, The National ENQUIRER has learned.
A friend of the 79-year-old Hollywood superstar told The ENQUIRER: “Judy’s death has crushed Burt! This could finally kill him!”
The British “Laugh-In” actress and comedienne, 76, who popularized the catchphrase “Sock it to me!” was battling pneumonia and died on Sept. 3.
“Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” aired from 1967 to 1973.
“This has hit him like a ton of bricks. For all the problems they had, Judy was one of the great loves of his life,” said a source close to Burt. “I think he held a torch for her, even after he married Loni (Anderson). And they both had to endure a lot of pain in their lives.”
Judy’s real name was Joyce Botterill. She married Burt in 1963, after they met on a flight to Florida the year before.
In her candid memoir, “Laughing on the Outside, Crying on the Inside,” she recalled that Burt “swept me off my feet” during a cross-country publicity junket.
But they had a tumultuous time together, and she claimed he beat her black-and-blue during the final year of their marriage in 1965 – driving her into the arms of another woman!
“Despite her descent into heroin addiction, Burt gave $500 to her to enter a rehab program, then hired Judy back to work at his Florida dinner theater in the mid-’70s. He never lost faith in her,” the source said.