The pair's two-decade long relationship came to an end in 1998, but they subsequently reconnected in 2001 after O'Neal was diagnosed with leukaemia. The actor then remained by Fawcett's side throughout her battle with anal cancer up until her death in June (09).
O'Neal has now spoken of their break-up, admitting he couldn't deal with the changes his partner was going through at the time so he found comfort in the arms of younger actress Leslie Stefanson.
He tells Vanity Fair, "I believe Farrah was going through some kind of life change. I didn’t have a change of life. I was always a jerk. But they’re hard work, these divas; I was sick of it, and I was unappreciated. I just don’t think she liked me very much. So I excused myself, and I was lucky enough to meet this young girl. She was more a daughter to me than a lover, and my own daughter had flown the coop, so here was this replacement.
And O'Neal recalls an embarrassing incident when Fawcett walked in on him in bed with his younger lover during an unexpected Valentine's Day visit to his Malibu, California, home.
He adds, "It was terrible. I didn’t expect to see her down there. I tried to put my pants on, but I put both legs in one hole.”.