Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Ryan O'Neal took the stand Monday to lay claim to the portrait of his late lover, Farrah Fawcett, in a court battle that has dug up some of the uglier moments of their nearly 30-year relationship.
O'Neal said he was in possession of one of the paintings -- Fawcett always had the other -- until after his falling-out with Fawcett in 1997, when she walked in on him with another woman. A year later, he handed his painting over to Fawcett, and though the reconciled in 2001, he never took it back from her home.
The actor, 72, admitted to removing the painting from Fawcett's condo a week after her death in June 2009 and taking it to his Malibu beach house, claiming the portrait had always belonged to him.
But the University of Texas at Austin says otherwise. Fawcett donated her art collection to the university -- including the Warhol portrait that had always remained in her possession, and the school is suing O'Neal for the other, which it claims belonged to the actress and was part of the collection.
Testimony Monday focused on the cheating that led to O'Neal and Fawcett's split and the couple's friendship with Warhol.
"About a year after the incident I asked her to keep the portrait with her, store it for me, because my young friend was uncomfortable with Farrah staring at her," O'Neal said, referring to the woman who came between them.
David Beck, an attorney for the university, asked if Fawcett was "furious."
"No," O'Neal responded. "She was hurt. She was in shock." He added that she felt "pitiful and disgraced."
But the actor insisted Fawcett forgave him.
He also claimed Warhol approached him in 1980, about a year after he began seeing Fawcett, with the idea for the portrait. Beck countered, claiming the artist approached Fawcett directly.
But O'Neal testified he attended the sessions at Warhol's New York studio, and later, with Fawcett, went to pick them up. The deal, he said, was they would each receive one of the paintings, and thus he is the painting's owner.
O'Neal countersued the university, claiming they only want the portrait for financial reasons, while he wants to pass it onto his son with Fawcett, Redmond O'Neal.