Robert Redford's Tribute To Betty White Was The Smile Fans Really Needed

When Betty White died on December 31, as 2021 was about to turn into 2022 and just weeks before her 100th birthday, Hollywood lost a legend who had been on television since the late 1940s (via Britannica). As fans are mourning the loss, so are celebrities and White's fellow performers, with many sharing a story (or three) about the comedic actress who blazed a trail for women in the industry. 

As tweets poured in from far and wide from people saddened by White's death (via Variety), another legendary performer remembered her in a way that may put a smile on fans' faces – just as White did in her many comedic television roles. That legend is actor and director Robert Redford, who has been entertaining audiences since the 1950s in both dramatic and comedic roles on Broadway and film and created his own renowned legacy in cinema (via Biography). It also seems White and Redford had a mutual admiration for each other going on for quite some time, which Redford referenced in his tribute.

Robert Redford and Betty White had a crush on each other

Although Betty White never remarried after her beloved husband, Allen Ludden, died in 1981, she developed a healthy crush on Robert Redford. In fact, White had such a crush on the actor who brought us "The Way We Were" and "Barefoot in the Park" (via IMDb), she was gifted a lifesize cardboard cutout of Redford for her last birthday when she turned 99. "For a long time, we had him in the office entryway," White's personal assistant Kiersten Mikelas told People. "When she came in, she'd say, 'Hi sweetheart.' "

Not only that, but White recently joked about her crush on Redford during her 100th birthday cover story interview with People, a birthday that was not meant to be. "I've heard Ryan [Reynolds] can't get over his thing for me," White said. "But Robert Redford is The One." Redford also had a confession to make when he paid tribute to White in a statement to People following the news of her death. "She made us all laugh, including me," Redford said. "Betty lived life devoted to her craft and her love of animals. She made us all laugh, including me. I had a crush on her, too!"