By City News Service
A man who says he had a long-term relationship with Farrah Fawcett, whom he met when the two were students at the University of Texas at Austin, testified via video deposition Thursday that he remains bitter toward Ryan O'Neal and believes the actor shut him out of the latter part of her life.
Greg Lott told a Los Angeles Superior Court jury that he last saw Fawcett in 2006, three years before her June 2009 death at age 62 after a lengthy battle with cancer. He said his romantic relationship with Fawcett dated back to 1998, and that it was documented in photos of the two and in their letters to each other.
"He didn't allow me to see the love of my life before she died," Lott said of O'Neal, the father of Fawcett's only child, Redmond.
Lott said he did have a telephone conversation with Fawcett about two months before she died.
Lott said he wanted answers from O'Neal, but that the actor was not forthcoming so he hired a tabloid camera crew and came face-to-face one Halloween with O'Neal and demanded answers.
"As a man, I needed to confront him about what he had done to me and my girlfriend," Lott said.
Lott was called as a witness on behalf of the University of Texas. The school sued O'Neal in August 2011, after a disputed Andy Warhol portrait of Fawcett was seen in his home during an episode of the reality TV show "Ryan and Tatum: The O'Neals."
O'Neal says Warhol gave the second of two similar Fawcett paintings to him. But lawyers for the university maintain the portrait is school property because Fawcett agreed through her living trust to donate all her artwork to the university, which she attended for three years in the 1960s.
Trial of the lawsuit is in its second week. The six-man, six-woman jury also will decide whether a Warhol napkin drawing that O'Neal is demanding from the school through his cross-complaint belongs to him or the university.
Lott said he visited Fawcett from time to time at her Wilshire Boulevard condominium and often saw saw both portraits there, one hanging in her living room and the one O'Neal claims belongs to him outside her bedroom. But sometimes Fawcett kept the disputed sketch in storage, he said.
"She thought it was pretentious to have two of those in a small apartment," he said. "She wasn't a person who idolized her own image."
Lott said he and Fawcett sometimes went to the movies in Sherman Oaks, but didn't visit restaurants or other public places often.
"It's hard to go out with Elvis," he said. "She was very private."
Lott, who with his blunt answers and Southern drawl sometimes drew chuckles from jurors, said he tried to convince members of the media to report on his relationship with Fawcett, but for the most part was unsuccessful.
"I counted on the media to tell the truth," Lott said. "They didn't do their jobs."
In other developments today, Judge William MacLaughlin ruled that Maribel Avila, a former nursing assistant to Fawcett, could testify before the jury. She claims the actress told her that O'Neal owned the disputed portrait.
Avila, testifying today in a hearing outside of the jury's presence, said she worked for Fawcett from 2006-07, when the actress was in the early stages of her cancer diagnosis.
Avila said she told Fawcett she was impressed by the eye color and the portrayal of the actress' lips in the portrait near the bedroom.
"Let me tell you the story," Fawcett said, according to Avila, who said the actress explained that Warhol painted one portrait her and the other for O'Neal.
"That's for Ryan and he's going to take it later on," Fawcett said, according to Avila.
Avila testified she spoke from time to time with O'Neal when he visited Fawcett and was impressed because she had seen him on the big screen.
"When I was young I saw 'Love Story' in my country," the Honduran native said.
O'Neal previously testified he split time between his Malibu home and Fawcett's condominium in her final years. The two had an on-and-off relationship that spanned years, but never wed.
Avila said she read about the current trial in the New York Post last month while working as a nanny for her current boss, talent manager David Sweeney. She said she told Sweeney, and that he recommended she call O'Neal's lawyers and helped put her in touch with them.