I’ve always suspected that Ryan O’Neal is a sleazeball. When he announced that he was going to marry Farrah (while she was on her deathbed) even if he had to move her lips for her during the vow exchange, it just confirmed my suspicions. Not that I needed any further convincing, Vanity Fair’s Leslie Bennetts sat down with Ryan O’Neal and you won’t believe the things he shared.
O’Neal tells Bennetts that he didn’t recognize his daughter, Tatum, at Fawcett’s funeral. “I had just put the casket in the hearse and was watching it drive away,” he says, “when a beautiful blonde woman comes up and embraces me. I said to her, ‘You have a drink on you? You have a car?’ She said, ‘Daddy, it’s me–Tatum!’ I was just trying to be funny with a strange Swedish woman, and it’s my daughter. It’s so sick.”
When Bennetts asks Tatum about the exchange, she replies, “That’s our relationship in a nutshell…. You make of it what you will.” She sighed. “It had been a few years since we’d seen each other, and he was always a ladies’ man, a bon vivant.”
Oh, Ryan! Do try and keep in in your pants around your daughter! He went on to talk about his regrets of having children.
O’Neal is brutal on the subject of his parenting and his children, telling Bennetts, “I’m a hopeless father. I don’t know why. I don’t think I was supposed to be a father. Just look around at my work–they’re either in jail or they should be.” He doesn’t talk to any of his kids except for Redmond, whom he visits in jail. “I was in touch with them for years, and I was a mess,” he says of the others. “I’m not in touch with them now, and I’ve never been happier.” When asked if he’s sorry he had children, he nods, Bennetts reports. “A couple of them I would take back,” he says.
It seems that the feeling is mutual. You may remember that Ryan’s son Griffin was turned away and refused admission into Farrah’s funeral. This snub was obviously the final straw in a relationship that has always been tumultuous.
Griffin O’Neal is suspicious of his father’s newfound devotion to Fawcett, telling Bennetts, “All those crocodile tears!… My dad’s only goal was to make sure he would be in the will. It was so disgustingly transparent as soon as he found out she was terminal. I consider him a vulture presiding over a carcass. Ryan thought he was going to get everything.” When asked about Griffin’s charge that Ryan was trying to get Fawcett’s money, the elder O’Neal says, “I hate him! He knows I have money. I made a tremendous amount of money on real estate, more than I deserve.”
O’Neal claims Griffin has sold salacious information about the family to the tabloids, a charge that Griffin denies–”Absolutely not! Not one thing!,” Griffin tells Bennetts. “My father is afraid of me because I know the truth,” Griffin says. “That’s the part that absolutely scares him to death.” Griffin suggests that the family’s problems might have something to do with the fact that Ryan plied his children with drugs–”My father gave me cocaine when I was 11 and insisted I take it,” he tells Bennetts–and was prone to uncontrollable rages. “He was violent all the way through my upbringing,” says Griffin. “He was a very abusive, narcissistic psychopath. He gets so mad he can’t control anything he’s doing.”
Ryan also is embroiled in battle with the woman he tried to hook up with — his daughter Tatum.
O’Neal fumes when asked about Tatum’s autobiography, saying “She wrote a book–bitch! How dare she throw our laundry in the street for money!… She didn’t call after Farrah’s show. She’ll have to explain that.”
Tatum tells Bennetts that her father “has every right to be angry about the book; no parent wants to hear their kid saying shitty things about them… But what I wrote in the book was true. I’ve got a battle with drugs, but I’m a strong, independent person, and I fight for myself, and my father and I butt heads. When I was 16 years old, he and Farrah moved in together, and after that I saw my dad periodically, and that took a long time for me to get over. Would I do that to my kids? No, but I don’t think Farrah was responsible for that. I truly thought Farrah was inspirational and beautiful and kind. Anyway, it’s past; I’ve moved on. I’m older now, and I forgive him.”
The whole, unedited disaster is in September’s Vanity Fair.
What is the lesson here? Appreciate the family you have, don’t do coke with your kids, go hug your folks and thank God that your last name isn’t O’Neal.