Farrah Fawcett Warhol, Warhol’s signature silk-screen image in his trademark day-glo style depicts the Charlie’s Angels star with bright green eyes, ruby red lips and a bright blonde mane of hair.
Yet the painting worth up to £20million has also sparked a legal battle that threatens to turn Farrah’s fairy-tale romance with Love Story star Ryan O’Neal into little more than a sordid fable.
The artwork has exposed O’Neal’s infi delity to Farrah and revealed her secret love affair with college sweetheart Greg Lott that endured through her tempestuous on -off romance with O’Neal.
While Hollywood sighed at O’Neal’s apparently loving reunion with Farrah in her years battling cancer before her death in 2009 aged 62 Lott claims he was her only lover for the last 11 years of her life.
“It was an exclusive relationship, ” says Lott, 67, who has revealed an array of Farrah’s tender love letters.
“She was with me.”
A celebrity-packed court case was set to begin in Los Angeles yesterday to determine ownership of the painting, hoping to unravel a mystery that might confound even the detective skills of Charlie’s Angels.
At the centre of the drama is the portrait painted by Warhol in 1980: one of two almost identical images owned by Farrah.
When she died the actress bequeathed all her artwork to the University of Texas, which she attended before fi nding fame in Hollywood. The university received one Warhol portrait of Farrah but was informed by Lott that Farrah had owned a second Warhol portrait that had gone missing.
The university hired detectives who eventually found the Warhol portrait while watching TV: it was in a wall in Ryan O’Neal’s Malibu beachfront home, depicted in his reality series The O’Neals, about his fractious relationship with daughter Tatum.
When the university sued O’Neal, claiming that he had taken its painting from Farrah’s home days after her death, he counter-sued insisting that it was a gift from Warhol that belonged to him and opened the floodgates to expose the tangled web of Farrah’s love life.
This week’s trial is expected to focus on her stormy romance with O’Neal. The longtime couple never wed, had son Redmond in 1985 and split up in 1997.
Thank you for making it so special. Great food, great weather, great sex, great, great you
O’Neal, 71, confessed in depositions that Farrah had caught him in bed with another woman in February 1997 and threw him out of their house. “She boxed a few things and sent them to me,” he admitted.