Exclusive: Farrah Fawcett Friend Craig Nevius Responds to Ryan O'Neal's $1Million Lawsuit

By , Contributor
Various sources are reporting that actor Ryan O'Neal is suing former business associate and close friend of Farrah Fawcett, Craig Nevius, for defamation of character in a $1 million lawsuit. 

TMZ is reporting that O'Neal is upset by reports last month that ran on Good Morning America and Star Magazine accusing O'Neal of stealing a Warhol painting belonging to Farrah Fawcett.  According to her official will, which TMR has obtained and reviewed, all artwork in Fawcett's possession was left to her alma mater, the University of Texas.

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Photo Credit: Andrew Edmonson, Daily Texan Staff

In the wake of the news stories, the University of Texas demanded the painting be turned over immediately, and have drawn up their own lawsuit against O'Neal. Ryan is claiming that Farrah left the painting to him, and upon his death, it will be left to their biological child Redmond O'Neal. Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O'Neal were never married.

TMZ's article refers to Nevius as an "obsessed, demented fan" of Fawcett's, based on claims by O'Neal. Full disclosure: TMR published an article by Nevius last month about O'Neal and his public claims about his life with Farrah, and his new reality show, Ryan and Tatum: The O'Neals.

In an attempt to present a balanced view of the situation, below is Craig's full statement on the lawsuit:

"I regard this latest lawsuit as a desperate attempt by Ryan O’Neal to further harass me into silence. I believe this is less about the portrait of Farrah Fawcett by Andy Warhol than it is about certain actions and events that occurred during the last few years of Farrah's life which I have knowledge of and that he (and others) would prefer me to never speak about.

In spite of their best efforts, Ryan’s former attorneys were unable to obtain a confidentiality agreement from me when they dropped the last equally frivolous action against me (which was purported to be in the name of Farrah Fawcett). So this new charge of “defamation” would seem to be nothing more than another intimidation tactic: a second bite at the legal apple. I understand that the truth can be a very frightening thing for some people. By the way, it is also my understanding that truth is a complete defense to defamation.

That being said, at no time have I ever claimed that Ryan O’Neal stole the portrait of Farrah Fawcett. That is a verdict that must be reached by a judge and jury in the pending litigation brought against him by the University of Texas. I have simply recounted the request by Farrah's alma mater to help them identify and locate numerous pieces of artwork that appeared to be mysteriously missing from the original inventory provided by her estate which, by the way, is overseen by Richard B. Francis, Ryan O’Neal’s loyal friend and business manager of over 40 years. With this in mind, I find it extremely telling that Ryan has sued me for defamation even before filing a response to University of Texas since it is they, not me, who have alleged that he wrongfully converted property bequeathed to them by the late Farrah Fawcett.

Finally, in terms of me being the one to cause Ryan’s public humiliation, well, has he watched his own reality show? Or read any of the interviews that he has given about Farrah’s tragic death from cancer or the “love story” that he claims to have shared with her? Well, I have. That’s why it’s hard for me to believe that I am the cause of this man’s “mental anguish and emotional distress” when, according to his reality show, he has recently been in therapy for personal and relationship issues dating back before I ever met him. But we can more fully examine Ryan O’Neal's mental and emotional health if this case goes to trial which, by the way, it never will."

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Farrah Fawcett and Craig Nevius, Executive producer on Farrah's Story

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I have written and covered celebrity, entertainment and popular culture for over ten years. I also created celebrity web-site Glosslip.com as part of the Blogcritics.org network. When both sites were purchased in 2008 by Technorati.com, she joined their editorial team as Entertainment Editor and then…

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