Ryan O’Neal’s Decades-Long Rift with Daughter Ended with Farrah Fawcett’s Death

Famous actor Ryan O’Neal is known to have had difficult relationships with all his children. However, the most problematic relationship is the one he had with his eldest daughter, Tatum O’Neal.

At one point in her life, he had meant everything to her. The famous father-daughter duo even starred alongside each other in the 1973 movie “Paper Moon.” 

As she grew older, their relationship became toxic, and things didn’t get better in her teens. Let’s look at the relationship Ryan has with his children.

Charles Patrick Ryan O’Neal was born in 1941 and started his career being trained as a Golden Gloves boxer. In the 1950s, his family moved to Germany, and Ryan started struggling in school.

His mother, an actress, pulled favors and got him a job as a stand-in on a show. Ryan then worked on it as an extra and stuntman. His experience made him take an interest in acting.

From the late ’50s to the late ’60s, Ryan starred in a lot of shows, including “Empire,” “Peyton Place,” and “The Big Bounce.” In 1970 he played the lead in “Love Story” and became a star.

In 1963, he married his first wife, actress Joanna Moore. Their marriage lasted for three years, and they share two children, Tatum and Griffin.

In 1967, he was married to another actress, Leigh Taylor-Young. They had a son Patrick, and their divorce was finalized in 1973. He then went into another relationship with actress Farrah Fawcett.

Their relationship lasted from 1979 to 1997 because of Ryan’s infidelity and volatile behavior. They were reunited in 2001 and stayed together till her death in 2009.

Fawcett and Ryan were never married, even though he had proposed to her a few weeks before she died. Even after her death, he said he still misses her a lot.

His relationship with Fawcett produced a son, Redmond. Of his four children, his relationship with his three eldest deteriorated for years. However, Fawcett’s death seemed to have brought them together.


After Ryan and Moore divorced, she took custody of Tatum and Griffin. However, her addiction to drugs caused her to lose custody of the kids to Ryan.

In 1973, while filming “Paper Moon,” eight-year-old Tatum starred beside him even though she had no acting experience.

Her performance won her an Oscar. At ten, Tatum became the youngest ever to win an Academy Award. From this point, their relationship went downhill.

Two years after Ryan met Fawcett and moved in with her, Tatum tried to commit suicide. Five years after her suicide attempt, she got married to John McEnroe.

Ryan’s relationship with Griffin was not any smoother. Things got so bad that Ryan was once arrested on charges of assault and firearms after fighting with Griffin.

In the past, Ryan had admitted his shortcomings as a parent. Over the years, the tension in his relationship with his children started to thaw, and they tried to reconcile several times.

While Fawcett was ill, Tatum feared her father would fall into depression, and so she gave her second son, Sean McEnroe, Ryan’s number, to call him.

Tatum decided to extend an olive branch to Fawcett and visited her with orchids and food a few months later. They talked and laughed a lot, and Fawcett was grateful for the visit.

After Fawcett died, Ryan called Tatum to meet up and have lunch. During lunch, Tatum revealed that Ryan had apologized to her. 

Tatum said that her father was all the family she had in her life, and she needed him. She made an effort to reconcile with him because she knew that there was no life without family.

Their reunion made Ryan realize how he had failed as a parent. He realized he hadn’t been there for his daughter after her mother died, and so she felt abandoned.

In her desire to forget her resentful feelings towards her father, Tatum released another book in 2011 titled “Found: A Daughter’s Journey Home.”

They released the reality show “Ryan and Tatum: The O’Neals,” in the same year, but it didn’t run for long. At the time, she wasn’t fully reconciled with her father, but she said she had forgiven him.

She was able to use hope and healing to put decades of darkness behind her. She understood that her father wanted his own life and career. 

In September 2020, the family was able to come together again after Sean made magic happen. Sean had always been the perfect middle man between his mother and his grandfather.

While he was in Los Angeles, he called his mother, and she told him that she would really love to see Ryan. Sean thought this was a good idea and went to Malibu to tell Ryan.

Tatum then called Ryan on his birthday, and the call went well. Sean knew that people following their family feud would have found it hard to believe a reunion was possible.

Sean also knew that with the amount of chaos and drama his family had faced over the years, reconciling and forging a good relationship for the future could be tough.

Seventeen years later, the family would all be seen together. The last time the four of them were together was at the 30th anniversary of “Paper Moon.”

When they finally reunited, Sean took a picture which he shared on his Instagram page. He believed that sharing the picture was a big deal. It was a moment where he believed anything was possible.

In the caption for the picture, he said he could cry tears of gratitude because everyone in the photo was still alive. After many years of hardship, he was excited that they were all able to come together again.

After posting the picture, Sean revealed that he did not expect the worldwide reaction the picture had received. He said it was nice for them to have connected after so long, and they had a nice time.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “help” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741, or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

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