Ryan O'Neal is speaking out for the first time since Farrah Fawcett's June 25 death in a new television interview with Today's Meredith Vieira.
In the interview airing Tuesday on NBC, O'Neal, 68, opens up to Vieira about his final moments with Fawcett, who died at age 62 after battling anal cancer.
"[Doctors] thought that she would live just another couple of hours, and she lived a couple of days," O'Neal says of his longtime love, who spent her last days at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif. "So I had a bed put in the room for me. And I just lay by her side. She wouldn't -- move on. She wouldn't pass."
In her dying moments, "[Farrah] just looked at us with a slight smile," O'Neal says, "and then all the machines flat lined. She was gone."
Though O'Neal was by Fawcett's side at the time of her death, the couple's 24-year-old son, Redmond, remained incarcerated for felony drug possession. He was able to attend her funeral, serving as a pall bearer, but did not get to say goodbye in person at the hospital.
Of Redmond's last phone call with his mother, O'Neal tells Vieira: "I think it was about regret. And the horror of not being able to see her again, and the promise of a good life -- one she would be proud of. He has a wonderful plan in mind to restore order in his life. And he will, with my help."
In the weeks since her passing, O'Neal says he has remained upbeat -- and is touched by the outpouring of support from Fawcett's fans. "[In her final moments], I said I'd see her soon, and I see her every day. I write to her in my journal," O'Neal tells Vieira. "Redmond says it's harder to grieve, but I told him to be patient. And when he got out, we'd grieve together."
"I'm using what she taught me to survive, to go on. I have launched into this massive job of answering the mail that has come in for her over the last few weeks," he says. "Hundreds and hundreds of letters of pain and sorrow and hope. I'm answering every one of them. That's my life now."