Amy Ryan
July 29, 2005 AT 10:36 PM EDT

Thank the show business gods for Burt Reynolds (far left), talk show raconteur. On Thursday’s Tonight Show, he told Jay Leno how much he loves his Dukes of Hazzard costar Willie Nelson (near left). And when I say ”loves,” I’m not exaggerating much. Quoth Burt: ”When I worked with Willie Nelson, who is just about the nicest man I’ve ever worked with in my life, the sweetest, kindest man, I thought, ‘If I’d have been gay, it would have saved me millions.”’ The 69-year-old actor added that, if he and the 72-year-old singer had become a couple way back when, they’d still be ”happily together.” I don’t know what Nelson thought of Reynolds, but I’m just glad they didn’t work their relationship into the movie. A romance between Boss Hogg and Uncle Jesse might just have sent poor Cooter over the edge.

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