Troubled Redmond O'Neal has turned his life around in the year following his mother Farrah Fawcett's death, his father, Ryan O'Neal, said on the Today show Thursday.
"He was thunderstruck to lose her," Ryan, 69, told Meredith Vieira of Fawcett, who died one year ago Friday at age 62 of anal cancer. Redmond — who was arrested on drug charges while undergoing court-ordered rehab last January — made a promise to Fawcett on her death bed that he'd try to get clean. "He turned his life around immediately."
"I've never seen such focus and success," added Ryan — who split from Fawcett in 1998, but rekindled his relationship with her in 2001 as he battled leukemia. "He's doing extremely well. I say that with pride. I'm extremely relieved and gratified with his progress in the last year. He's living in a sober living situation in Pasadena, and he's beautiful, and his mother would be so proud of him."
Ryan and Redmond, 25, are still grieving Fawcett's death.
"We thought maybe we should take a trip, but that hasn't happened yet. He's not allowed to leave the state," Ryan said. "He still has responsibilities to the state of California, and that will go on for another couple of months. He sees a judge once a month. But we have a lot to say to each other."
In the emotional interview, a sometimes-teary Ryan explained what he missed most about Fawcett: "I miss her cooking. I haven't had a good meal since she left me. I live in the same home that we lived in together, so I see her silhouette. I hear her voice. And in one way, it's kind of wonderful she's still around. In another way, there's not enough of her to grab."
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Best friend Alana Stewart (ex of Rod Stewart) also memorialized Fawcett.
"I can't believe a year has passed," said Stewart, 65, who taped documentary footage on Fawcett's trips to Germany for holistic cancer treatments, which was later shown on TV as Farrah's Story. She also wrote a book, My Journey With Farrah.
"She had the most amazing sense of humor," Stewart recalled. "Even in the darkest times, she would find something to laugh about."
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