Actor Ryan O’Neal fought in court Monday for the right to keep an Andy Warhol portrait of Farrah Fawcett, whom the actor calls the love of his life.
O’Neal is in a legal battle with Fawcett’s alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin, which claims the Warhol portrait should have been included in the collection of art the actress left to the school after her death in 2009.
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Telling the jury he took the portrait from where it hung outside of Fawcett’s bedroom after she died, O'Neal said it belongs to him, CNN reported
. He told of attending the session with Fawcett where Warhol took pictures of the popular actress to create the portraits, and then later returning with her to pick up two portraits.
The twin to the one in O’Neal’s possession is already in the university collection. The university sued O’Neal to obtain the second Warhol, and O’Neal countersued to get back a tablecloth that Warhol painted, which O’Neal said belonged to both him and Fawcett.
O’Neal told the courtroom that he does not plan to sell the painting, NBC News reported
. The Warhol portrait in Ryan’s possession has been estimated to be valued as high as $30 million.
“I’m going to give it to her son. Our son,” O’Neal said in his testimony, NBC said.
In the midst of determining who owned the portraits, the legal questioning — over strenuous objections by O’Neal’s attorney — explored troubles in the Fawcett and O’Neal relationship when Fawcett discovered him in bed with a younger woman. At that point, the painting hung over O’Neal’s bed, but he testified that he later asked Fawcett to keep it for him because it made the younger woman uncomfortable.
O’Neal became emotional testifying about the couple’s relationship and his desire to preserve the portrait for his family; he read a letter that Fawcett wrote to their son, Redmond, where she said, “you, sweet boy, are the love of my life,” CNN said.
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