Ryan O'Neal: "I Suppose I Was" a Bad Father

Celebrity News May. 1, 2012 AT 2:28PM
Ryan O'Neal and Tatum O'Neal Ryan O'Neal and Tatum O'Neal Credit: Craig Barritt/WireImage.com

Ryan O'Neal's shortcomings as a father are well-documented, and on Today Tuesday, the actor admitted he feels like a parental failure.

"Looks like it, doesn't it? Sure looks like it," O'Neal told host Matt Lauer, 54. "I suppose I was."

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"I wasn't trained. These are not children, anymore," the Love Story actor explained. "Griffin is 45, Tatum is 49. Who's the other one? Oh yeah. Redmond is 27. At some point they have to take hold of their own existences." (O'Neal is also father to son Patrick, 43, with ex-wife Leigh Taylor-Young.)

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In his new book, Both of Us: My Life With Farrah, O'Neal, 71, reveals some of family's darkest moments, including a time when Redmond, then 6, threatened to stab himself with a knife in an effort to stop his parents from fighting.

"He didn't want to see that. He couldn't stand it," O'Neal recalled. "It stopped us, I must say. It put a stop to that and we moved the knives up higher. Harder to reach."

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O'Neal admitted that he and Farrah Fawcett had a "sometimes violent" relationship, but "there was a bond" that carried them through the tough times. "I don't think we were bad for each other because we had a rhythm that worked -- generally -- smoothly. But I'm hard to live with. She got tired of that, I'm sure."

Fawcett -- who passed away from anal cancer in June 2009 -- "loved me," O'Neal added. "She said so. I couldn't write a book if she hadn't."

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