In a sad segment on Tuesday’s Today Show, one-time Hollywood hunk Ryan O’Neal came off as a broken man, admitting his failure as a parent and his profound loneliness without longtime love Farrah Fawcett, as he himself now battles cancer.
Ryan — who abruptly left the show’s New York set for a scheduled chat Monday — said he’d “just broke out into a terrible sweat.
“You wouldn’t have wanted me,” Ryan said, looking tired with a bandage on his nose after a recent procedure.
Asked if he’d indeed had a panic attack, O’Neal said he assumed he did, though he “never had one before.”
The subject of his kids came up and it made for extremely uncomfortable TV: The father-of-four — Patrick, Tatum, Griffin and Redmond — was honest in assessing his accountability in the the addiction issues of the latter three, and past jail histories of the latter two.
“Were you a bad parent?” Lauer asked the Love Story star, who said contritely, “Looks like it, doesn’t it? Sure looks like it … I suppose I was.”
Ryan said he “wasn’t trained” to be a father, and can’t continue to be held accountable with his children all adults.
“Griffin is 45, Tatum is 49, who’s the other one? Redmond is 27. They have to take hold of their own existences.”
He joked, “Even with those kids … I never suffered a panic attack.”
The 70-year-old ex of the late Farrah Fawcett was at her side throughout her valiant battle with cancer up to her June 25, 2009 death. His recollection of his final days with Farrah are chronicled in his memoir, Both of Us, My Life With Farrah.