Farrah Fawcett And Ryan O'Neal: Epic Love Story

Farrah Fawcett Ryan O'Neil

Ed Note: Farrah Fawcett passed away this morning. She was 62 years old.

Ryan O'Neal told People magazine late last week that friends and family were gathering to say their goodbyes to his partner of almost 30 years, Farrah Fawcett, as her three-year battle with cancer appears to be near its end. The love story of the Charlie's Angel pinup and Oscar nominee O'Neal has been an epic one, spanning decades, producing a son, and earning comparison to other long-term unmarried celeb couples, like Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon, and Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. "It's a love story," O'Neal said. "I just don't know how to play this one. I won't know this world without her."

Ryan and Farrah were first linked in 1980, as her marriage to TV's Six Million Dollar Man, Lee Majors, was ending. Majors, who was friends with O'Neal, later said that he introduced the two and quipped that he'd be the best man at their wedding. O'Neal had previously been married to actresses Leigh Taylor-Young and Joanna Moore, and already had three children, including his costar in 1973's Paper Moon, daughter Tatum, who became history's youngest Oscar winner for her role. Read: Stress in Step-Families

In 1985 Farrah gave birth to the couple's son, Redmond. Farrah and Tatum had a rocky relationship over the years, with Tatum telling the Associated Press in 1982 that she moved out of her father's house at age 18 while he was distracted with new girlfriend Farrah. Ryan and three of his children, Tatum, Redmond, and Griffin, have been treated for drug addiction, with 24-year-old Redmond currently in prison for a drug-related violation of his probation. He was allowed a three-hour furlough on April 25 to say goodbye to his mother.

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Although O'Neal proposed to Fawcett repeatedly, and presented her with a ring featuring 17 heart-shaped diamonds shortly before she got pregnant with Redmond, the two never married. Their relationship was tumultuous and marked by a breakup in the late '90s after O'Neal, then 56, reportedly had an affair with a 25-year-old actress. While they were separated, Fawcett dated 3 Men and a Baby writer James Orr, who was sentenced to probation and counseling in 1998 after he assaulted Fawcett.