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It's been nearly three years since Farrah Fawcett passed away following a battle with cancer, but her longtime love Ryan O'Neal is still coming to terms with her passing. As part of the mourning process, the 71-year-old actor wrote a memoir (which was released Tuesday) that's titled Both of Us and offers an intimate -- and sometimes raw -- look at their time together.
"Well, I wrote it because I missed her, and it was a way to keep the line between us going," O'Neal told Matt Lauer during a Tuesday morning appearance on Today. "I still felt she was there when I wrote this. She was close."
What's more, O'Neal says he still hasn't fully recovered from losing his on-off partner of 30 years. "I'm not over it yet," he said. "I got some relief writing the book... but that was rough."
Lauer asked O'Neal -- who was recently diagnosed with stage 2 prostate cancer and has already successfully battled leukemia -- whether it was fair to write this memoir now that Fawcett isn't around to defend herself. According to O'Neal, there's nothing in the book that she wouldn't want in there.
"She loved me," he says. "She said she loved me. I couldn't write a book if she hadn't."
One story in the book relates how Fawcett became insecure with her looks as she got older and would spend hours in the bathroom staring at her own reflection. But O'Neal took a bit of the bite out of that claim on Today.
"Well it was possible she was just trying to keep away from me and stayed in the bathroom, I don't know," he says, adding that everyone was "a little" insecure. "We were all in the bathroom for too long."
But another tale involving their son Redmond is harrowing to the core. In his book, O'Neal details a night where a 6-year-old Redmond walked into the kitchen where his parents were fighting and threatened to stab himself with a knife unless they stopped.
"He couldn't stand it," O'Neal told Lauer. "It stopped us, I must say. We put a stop to that. And we moved the knives up higher, harder to reach."
But O'Neal has no delusions that he was a good parent to Redmond and his three other children -- Tatum, 49, Griffin, 45, and Patrick, 43, -- from other relationships. In fact, he admitted that "it sure looks like" he was a bad father. Patrick has managed to stay out of trouble, but the other three children all have had problems with addiction, and Redmond, now 27, and Griffin have both been incarcerated. O'Neal acknowledges his own failings due to lack of being "trained," but he also says that his children "have to take hold of their own existences."
O'Neal was supposed to appear on Today on Monday, but cancelled due to what he says was his first-ever panic attack. "I don't know what was wrong," he said during the interview. "Terror, perhaps. I don't know; I just broke out in a terrible sweat."