Together for more than two and a half decades, "There was never a day I didn’t love her," Ryan O'Neal said.
The day Ryan O’Neal thought he would finally be able to call Farrah Fawcett his wife turned into the day where he had to say his final goodbye to the woman he had deeply loved for 30 years.
The two of them had spent decades together and they were even one of Hollywood's most famous couples in the 1980s. The couple even had a son, Redmond O'Neal, but they never tied the knot and hardly even considered the idea of marriage as both had failed marriages in the past. "We never really considered it," O’Neal said in 2006, as quoted by Heavy. "We didn’t want to do what other people wanted us to do. We were rebels. But now I would do it in a second—if I can get her to wake up long enough. Our son would love it."
There was one time when O'Neal and Fawcett came close to marrying, but a flat tyre on their way to the church ruined their plans. In his book, Both Of Us, O'Neal wrote as quoted by the Daily Mail, "Looking back, I wonder how my life with this rare woman might have been different if we had gone through with it that day. Why didn’t I just fix the damn tyre and get us to the church?"
The next time O'Neal and Fawcett almost took each other as husband and wife was when the Charlie’s Angels actress was on her deathbed. By this time, O'Neal had spent months beside Fawcett as she underwent treatment for cancer, and he even slept beside her in a cot in the hospital during her final days.
"Her body is dying while her hydrangea-blue eyes are alight with fierce satisfaction. In the coming days I ask her to marry me again and she accepts. I buy the ring," O'Neal wrote. "The priest at St John’s Hospital arrives to marry us but administers the last rites instead."
Doctors told O'Neal that it was time to let Fawcett go, and for hours, "I caress her hand" until the doctor says, "It’s time to remove the IV," wrote the Love Story actor.
In the same book, O'Neal remembered the very first impression he had of Fawcett: "She’s delightful, full of childlike warmth. She’s vibrant and wholesome – refreshing in this town. I’ve just met Farrah, the woman who will become the love of my life," he wrote.
Back then, she was married to his friend, Lee Majors, whom Fawcett separated from in 1979 and divorced in 1982, according to Biography.
From the time O'Neal fell in love with the golden girl in 1979, he shared a relationship that some described as "electric." But they also had intense fights as well.
This one time when O'Neal and Fawcett were having a "shouting match" in their bedroom, they suddenly see their son standing in the doorway with a butcher's knife. "He points the tip of the blade at his chest. ‘I’m gonna stab myself if you don’t stop it!’ That ended the argument," O'Neal wrote in his book, as quoted by the Daily Mail.
Their relationship fell apart when Fawcett caught her longtime lover in bed with actress, Leslie Ann Stefanson in 1997 and they split in 1998. But in 2001, when O'Neal was diagnosed with leukemia, the two of them got back together, and Fawcett was right beside him through his treatment.
"We pulled apart, but we never popped loose," O'Neal told Vanity Fair, as reported by People.
In 2006, Fawcett was diagnosed with anal cancer and as she did for him, he made sure to sit by her side while she was in the hospital. In 2009, before O'Neal could officially call Fawcett his wife after more than two and a half decades of romance.
"I think they would’ve married if she had made it because he asked her to marry him in the hospital and she said yes. But she took a turn for the worse," Fawcett's close friend, Alana Stewart told People.
Another one of Fawcett's friend, Sylvia Dorsey said, "Ryan was the love of her life. I don’t think she was happy without him. They fought and loved with passion. It was never boring. They were electric together."
O'Neal may have never been able to call himself Fawcett's husband but that never affected the love he had for her as he said, "There was never a day I didn’t love her."