Farrah Fawcett was a dazzlingly beautiful and immensely popular actress whose iconic red swimsuit poster once graced the walls of millions of young male admirers worldwide.
Ryan O’Neal was a suave, handsome actor who took the world by storm when he appeared in Love Story. One of the more significant romantic tear-jerkers of the early 70s. That being said, the love story between these two stars far from the fairytale-like take on romance that was depicted in that film.
O’Neal and Fawcett’s relationship was turbulent at best, but the two stars were very much so human beings just like the rest of us. Despite their problems, they remained devoted to each other in their own unique ways for the better part of three decades until Fawcett’s death in 2009.
And even today, O’Neal, at the age of 81, still hasn’t fully over his love for Fawcett. Join Facts Verse as we take a look back on this humorous yet heartwarming Hollywood romance Between Ryan O’Neal and Farrah Fawcett. While catching up with Ryan to see what his life and career has looked like in recent years.
Fawcett and O’Neals Met Under Unusual Circumstances
Farrah Fawcett met actor Lee Majors in the late 60s, and the two immediately began dating. The couple married in 1973 but separated in 1979. They technically remained married until 1982. But the year that they separated happened to be the same year that Fawcett struck up a relationship with Ryan O’Neal. Although admittedly, the circumstances under which they got together were quite unusual.
Ryan O’Neal and Lee Majors were old friends, but they had been out of touch for a number of years. In 1979, the two friends reconnected when Ryan was in Toronto visiting his daughter Tatum O’Neal on the set of a film.
O’Neal and Major soon started spending quite a bit of time together. Ryan would visit Lee’s home, and while reconnecting with his old pal from over two decades ago, he also got to know his wife, Farrah.
It came as a surprise when O’Neal received a phone call from Majors one day asking him to take his wife out to dinner. Lee had flown back to Canada, and Fawcett left alone back at their home in California.
O’Neal thought it unusual that a man was asking another to take his wife out to dinner. But there was another factor at play that made him feel somewhat uncomfortable about the request. Fawcett wasn’t just a friend’s wife. She was something more than that to him, as the two shared an undeniable connection from the moment they first met.
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There Was An Immediate Connection
O’Neal and Fawcett made each other’s acquaintance just days before Ryan received that phone call.
Majors invited him over for dinner. The band of friends played a round of racquetball and had dinner together. Fawcett made mashed potatoes and gravy, and fried chicken. O’Neal recalls that she also also fixed everyone cappuccinos.
The following evening, Fawcett invited O’Neal back over to watch a boxing match on TV. Ryan was planning to go out to Las Vegas to watch it in person. But Farrah convinced him to watch it on TV with her and Majors instead.
By the second evening, O’Neal apparently trusted enough to considered a member of Major’s and Fawcett’s inner circle – as they started revealing the intimate and somewhat dicey details of their relationship to him.
They told him that their marriage was basically over. Ryan replied to this revelation by insisting tha they seemed perfect together. But in reality, their marriage really was on it’s last leg – O’Neal just couldn’t see that yet.
It wasn’t long after this that Majors asked O’Neal to take Farrah out for dinner. While he found her attractive, the situation still made him feel wildly – and reasonably – uncomfortable.
A week later, however, he saw that there was going to be a Ry Cooper Concert in town. Remembering that Fawcett was a fan gave him an excuse to invite her to the show.
Things got weird, though after O’Neal called up Fawcett and asked her out. At first she agreed to go out with him. But when she talked to Majors about it, he got irate and forbade her to go even though it was his idea in the first place.
Majors then started calling O’Neals house and hanging up. Eventually he told O’Neal to stay away from his woman.
Instead of backing down, O’Neal told Majors that he was in love with Fawcett. It was a situation he hadn’t been in before, as he was was committing to someone even before talking to her about it.
This rocky start to O’Neal and Fawcett’s relationship would prove to be a foreshadowing of things to come. While their love for each other was electrifying, it also came with some high-stakes drama that ultimately played out very publicly due to the fact they they were both well-known names.
At times throughout their relationship, they seemed to be the perfect couple. They would shower each other with love in front of the media with near-constant public displays of affection, but they could also be brutally honest and real with each other.
The two would often fight and wouldn’t back down from their opinions. They could both be headstrong, and neither party was willing to admit when they were wrong.
O’Neal and Fawcett had a son together named Redmond O’Neal who was born in 1985. They considered having more children, and Ryan definitely wanted at least another, but Fawcett had mixed feelings on the subject.
In 1994, Fawcett told TV Guide that her and O’Neals relationship had some serious problems. She told the outlet that Ryan sometimes broke her heart. But she insisted that he was still responsible for giving her confidence in herself.
When they had first gotten together, Ryan convince Farrah that she didn’t need to always wear makeup or worry about her hair. As he found her beautiful without all of that.
While it’s not usual for couples to have their disagreements, the kinds of problems that O’Neal and Fawcett began to deal with took things to a new level.
Drugs, Abuse, A Shooting, And Infidelity
Life at the O’Neals house was always full of drama. In the late 90s, Farrah was battling drug addiction and was often incoherent. Evidence of this can seen in that infamous trainwreck of a Letterman interview she gave in June of 1997 which she appeared to be fazing in and out of lucidity.
Later in 1997, Fawcett caught Ryan in bed with actress Leslie Stefanson. Farrah broke things off with O’Neal, and the couple went their separate ways. After their split, Tatum O’Neal alleged that her father had physically abused Fawcett.
Whether or not these allegations are true is hard to determine, but O’Neal and Fawcett did rekindle their relationship in 2001. Although, according to former Longhorn football star Greg Lott, O’Neal and Fawcett’s rekindled relationship was just a rouse to keep up appearances. To his credit, Fawcett ended up leaving $100,000 for Lott in his living trust while she left O’Neal nothing.
In 2007, O’Neal arrested for allegedly shooting at his son Griffin. He claimed that he shot at the then 42-year-old in self-defense and the charges were later dropped.
Ryan and Farrah’s son Redmond has struggled with drug addiction for the majority of his adult life. In 2018, Redmond was arrested for attempted murder, robbery, assault, and drug possession after attempting to rob a convenience store in Santa Monica.
O’Neal Never Got Over Fawcett
As hurtful as their breakup had been, Ryan and Farrah apparently never stopped caring for each other. Whether or not their reconciliation in 2001 was as legitimate as the media made it out to be. It was clear that the two stars still clearly cared for each other.
Not long after getting back together, O’Neal was diagnosed with Leukemia. Farrah remained by his side and served as his caretaker until his cancer was in remission.
In 2006, Fawcett was diagnosed with anal cancer. This time around, O’Neal stepped up to the plate to be her caretaker. In 2009, as Farrah approached her final days, O’Neal once again proposed to her. Reportedly she accepted and vowed to marry him once she was well enough.
The following day, Farrah’s doctors took her off life support, and just a few hours later, she passed away by O’Neal’s side.
O’Neal would later say that there wasn’t a day in their relationship that he didn’t love Fawcett. Even years later, he claims that he hasn’t gotten over her . In retrospect, he says that he wishes that he had done many things differently. And that if he were ever granted a ‘do-over’, he would be more mature, understanding, and kinder than he was during their time together.
While O’Neal is mostly retired these days, he still occasionally shows up on the big and small screesn. His most significant role in recent years was playing Max Brennan on Bones. From 2006 to 2017, he appeared in 24 episodes of the show in that role.
In 2015, he appeared in the drama film Knight of Cups. That same year, he narrated the documentary film Unity.
We’re just about out of time for this video but we’d love to hear from you. Did you know that Ryan O’Neal and Farrah Fawcett got together after Farrah’s then-husband Lee Majors instructed O’Neal to take her on a date? And were you aware that the two stars reconciled in 2001 and remained by each other’s sides until Farrah’s death in 2009?
Share your thoughts on Farrah and Ryan’s relationship in the comments section down below.
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