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Ryan O’Neal, the troubled star, has written a book chronicling his nearly thirty-year relationship with Farrah Fawcett, who died of cancer in June 2009.
Both of Us: My Life with Farrah (Crown Archetype, 253 pages) arrives in bookstores today.
The book chronicles their entire relationship, from their first meeting in 1979 (suggested by then husband Lee Majors to keep Farrah company while he was away filming a movie) to her death in 2009. In between they had a tempestuous relationship, including breaking up and reconciling several times, having a son Redmond in 1985, navigating drug and legal difficulties with O’Neal’s other children, daughter Tatum O’Neal and son Griffin O’Neal, and never getting legally married.
Here’s five revelations from the book:
1. Fawcett called O’Neal in tears after her infamous appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman.
In 1997, Fawcett went on the David Letterman show to promote her photo spread in Playboy magazine. Her spacey appearance led to speculation she was on drugs. O’Neal says she was just “attempting to play the part of the ditsy bunny thinking it would be a clever way to promote the magazine.” After the appearance, she overheard some people making fun of her and she called O’Neal in tears. He consoled her by saying, “You’re a fox, you’re not a bunny just let the photos speak for themselves and don’t feel you have to be anyone but yourself.”
2. Son Redmond once threatened to stab himself to stop his parents from fighting.
O’Neal and Fawcett fought often and loudly. Those arguments took a toll on their son Redmond. O’Neal recounts a particularly heart-stopping example in the book that occurred during an argument in their bedroom. “Suddenly, our six-year-old son is standing in the doorway in his Winnie-the-Pooh pajamas, staring at us. He’s holding a butcher’s knife…. He points the tip of the blade at his chest. ‘I’m going to stab myself if you don’t stop it!’ That ended the argument.”
3. He didn’t hit on his daughter Tatum at Farrah’s funeral.
After Farrah’s funeral, O’Neal admitted he had hit on his own daughter at the ceremony, not recognizing her behind her big sunglasses. Tatum confirmed the story. Now, O’Neal denies the story, calling the media outlets that reported it “perverse.” O’Neal says the exchange with Tatum was an “innocent joke.” He writes, “Ever since she was a little girl, Tatum and I would play this game pretending we’d just met. It was silly and sweet. So at the funeral I greeted her with my line from our little act to let her know how much I loved her and that I still remembered, despite the difficulties between us.”
4. They were supposed to get married the day Farrah died.
O’Neal and Fawcett had danced around the question of marriage since before their son Redmond was born in 1985, with O’Neal sometimes pushing it and Fawcett sometimes pushing it. But with three failed marriages between them and the difficulties in their relationship, a wedding happened. One time O’Neal even proposed using a cigar band as an impromptu engagement ring, but a flat tire on the way to a quickie wedding derailed those plans. Just before her death, O’Neal asks one more time and Farrah accepts. “The priest at St John’s Hospital arrives to marry us but administers the last rites instead.” The next day, the doctor removed her life support and Farrah died a few hours later with O’Neal at her side.
5. He’s not over Farrah’s death but writing the book helped.
O’Neal admits he’s “not over” Farrah’s death “yet,” but writing the book was cathartic. He got “some relief” in painting a “clearer picture to everyone, including me” of his relationship with the Charlie’s Angels star.
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