We’ve all seen that iconic Farrah Fawcett poster. Hanging in so many bedrooms, the 1976 photo — which showed off her stunning good looks — proved she surely could catch the eye of anyone she wanted. It was catching the eye of Ryan O’Neal, however, that proved to be one of the most significant parts of her life.
Like any Hollywood couple, the pair definitely had their ups and downs. While both hit career highs, it was during their time together that perhaps they saw their greatest lows, too — including one dark rumor that insiders recently confirmed.
While Hollywood has had plenty of iconic leading ladies, no one stole the spotlight like Farrah Fawcett. But, for all her star power, life off the set was never as effortless as she made it seem.
In the late 1960s, Fawcett started dating Lee Majors; they officially tied the knot in 1973 but separated a few years later. She was ready to start clean. That was when one of Major’s friends started to take an interest in Farrah.
That man was Ryan O’Neal. Majors had asked his pal to check in on his former lover to make sure she was doing alright on her own. O’Neal came back with some shocking news.
Fawcett was doing well, he reported, but he’d immediately fallen in love with her. So infatuated, he pursued her, which cost him a friendship with Majors. But to Ryan’s delight, he and Fawcett struck up a relationship. There was another catch, however.
Fawcett and Majors were separated, but the couple was still legally married. A divorce would officially be finalized in 1982, removing the only official roadblock between Farrah and O’Neal’s relationship.
While the relationship drama was finally settled, things weren’t smooth sailing. As often happens in Hollywood, personal and professional struggles were lurking behind the happiest moments. This couple was no exception.
Fawcett had begun to tire of the celebrity life; being constantly recognized and chased down by the paparazzi was taking an especially heavy toll on her. She devised a sneaky way to insulate herself.
Her iconic hair actually acted like blinders, keeping the constant crowds out of eye shot. “I can’t see to the right or left, and that way I don’t have to see people looking at me,” she explained.
That was a stunning revelation from a woman who seemed so at home in the spotlight. Her looks, which ultimately attracted too much attention, were so iconic that they even brought her professional success.
“When [Charlie’s Angels] was number three, I thought it was our acting,” she told TV Guide. “When we got to be number one, I decided it could only be because none of us wears a bra.”
Fawcett also tried to prove she was more than a pretty face and could act in more serious roles. Those performances, however, didn’t always win the praise that she desperately craved.
In 1978, for example, she landed a starring role opposite Jeff Bridges in Somebody Killed Her Husband. Unfortunately, critics felt that the film would should have been called “Somebody Killed Her Career.” Ouch.
Meanwhile, O’Neal was dealing with some on-screen issues of his own; they weren’t isolated, however, and conflicts of his career threatened to bleed into his fragile personal life.
For instance, O’Neal starred in Stanley Kubrick’s 1975 period drama Barry Lyndon. The movie was met with mixed reviews, which the actor felt damaged his career. At home, other forces were wearing him down.
O’Neal was getting tired of dealing with Fawcett on a daily basis. He complained, for example, about how long it took her to do her hair and makeup before leaving the house. Frustrated, he took regrettable next steps.
He began an affair with actress Leslie Stefanson; it wouldn’t remain a secret for long, however. Word always spreads fast in Hollywood. The news wasn’t broken to Fawcett via rumor or tabloid.
Rather, Fawcett walked in on the pair in bed! She didn’t explode in rage. She simply asked the woman’s name and left the room. Her trust was broken. The relationship was over.
But in 2001, O’Neal was diagnosed with leukemia. That news inspired he and Fawcett to reconnect. Facing a potentially deadly illness, they put the past behind them and began to rebuild their relationship.
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This time, the couple went slowly and took pains to reestablish their trust. They maintained separate homes but spent evenings and weekends together, rekindling the spark they once felt. Things were still far from perfect, however.
Farrah’s older sister died of lung cancer in 2001; a couple of years later, her mother died at age 91. Still, another heart-breaking diagnosis was around the corner for the actress to grapple with.
She fought her own battle with cancer in 2006. While she underwent treatment and was declared cancer-free, the disease returned with vengeance in 2007. Just one year removed from the disease, she was back in a fight for her life.
Fawcett tried a variety of therapies and treatments, but none of them worked. Even as she shaved off her iconic hair, however, she remained hopeful. Options were running out with each passing day, though.
O’Neal had been spending a great deal of time with Fawcett as she fought cancer, becoming a constant fixture at her bedside. He even hatched a plan to make her final days special.
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O’Neal wanted to finally make their relationship official; nearly 40 years after they first started dating, he asked Fawcett to marry him. She agreed, but the couple had to race against the clock.
Tragically, Fawcett died on June 25, 2009 before the couple could exchange vows. “The priest at St. John’s Hospital arrives to marry us but administered the last rites instead,” O’Neal wrote in 2012.
While Fawcett and O’Neal shared moments of intense emotional pain together, they also shared moments of beautiful love. With all the pressures of Hollywood, it’s not uncommon to see these kinds of romances unfold. Just ask another star-crossed couple…
Burt Reynolds and Sally Field encapsulated the rocky romances of Southern California. Before she met Burt, however, Sally was known as a teen star whose memorably chirpy performances in the television sitcoms The Flying Nun and Gidget established her career.
Meanwhile, Burt Reynolds’ TV career couldn’t have been more different. He gained recognition for his roles in television drama series, such as Gunsmoke, Hawk, and Dan August. But that wasn’t all he was known for.
During the prime of his career in the ’70s and early ’80s, Reynolds dated a slew of women, which solidified his reputation as one of Hollywood’s biggest sex symbols — even when he was without the mustache.
Having also been romantically linked to the likes of singer Dinah Shore and French actress Catherine Deneuve, the womanizer kept himself, well, busy. But he and Sally had something in common when it came to romance.
By the time the duo met in 1977 on the set of the Hal Needham film Smokey And The Bandit, they both had one failed marriage behind them. Maybe it was the bad luck in love that ignited a spark between them that soon became a full-fledged love affair.
Their chemistry popped on the screen, too. Together they starred in four movies: Smokey and the Bandit and its 1980 sequel, Hooper, and The End. People couldn’t get enough of them, but unfortunately, they split in 1982.
After Field’s and Reynolds’ publicized split, the two flames parted ways. Sally’s career soared as she went on to star in films, such as her Oscar-winning turn in 1979’s Norma Rae and 1989’s Steel Magnolias.
Burt also built an impressive resume, later starring in 1982’s The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and 1997’s Boogie Nights, which essentially served as his career revival. Things were great for them both, but there was an arena in their lives that still suffered.
While their professional successes grew and grew, neither could make love work. Sally’s marriage to film producer Alan Greisman and Reynolds’ marriage to actor Loni Anderson both ended in divorce. Was it because their hearts were with someone else — perhaps each other?
In a move that shocked the world, decades after their split, Burt opened up about his time with Sally. He finally admitted that she was probably the greatest love of his life, and he didn’t stop there.
In 2015, the 79-year-old Deliverance star exposed his true feelings about his relationship with Field, even confessing that losing her was the biggest regret of his life. Insert sad face emoji here.
Reynolds, reflecting on their time together admitted to being a true wild child. “I would’ve been better to her had I been older and a bit more mature,” he said. Being that way, he said, cost him the love of his life.
“Even now, it’s hard on me. I don’t know why I was so stupid. Men are like that, you know. You find the perfect person, and then you do everything you can to screw it up,” the remorseful Burt told Vanity Fair. It turns out that Burt wasn’t the only one with something to say about their time together…
See, Sally had her own feelings about her time with Burt, and it wasn’t until after his death and the writing of her own memoir that she could put them into words. Nobody was expecting what she had to say.
In 2018, Sally Field discussed the late Reynolds’ kind words on Good Morning America. A humbled Field said that although she was “always flattered,” when Reynolds spoke of his undying love for her, she still saw him as “a complicated man.”
In short, Field revealed that in her experience with Burt Reynolds he was “controlling.” She told the New York Times that their coupling was “confusing and complicated, and not without loving and caring, but really complicated and hurtful to me.” She wasn’t the only person with these kinds of feelings about Burt, either.
As shocking as it is, Loni Anderson also said she had a troubling relationship with Reynolds, as their ugly divorce was laced with horrid accusations. That’s something Field knew from her time with Burt all too well.
See, Reynolds allegedly attempted to stop Field from attending the 1977 Emmy Awards, where she won “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama or Comedy Special” for her performance in Sybil.
An honest Field also said she felt comfortable sharing this now because, after Reynold’s 2018 death, “he wasn’t going to be asked about it, and he wasn’t going to have to defend himself or lash out, which he probably would have.”
In her memoir, Field also wrote about the sexual abuse she endured as a child, which, in turn, affected how she handled future relationships with men. “[Burt] was a preformed rut in my road. And I couldn’t see it coming and I didn’t know how to get out,” she wrote.
Despite the hardships of their perplexing romance, Sally Field still remembered the good as well as the bad. “My years with Burt never leave my mind. He will be in my history and my heart, for as long as I live. Rest, Buddy,” she said after Reynolds’ death.
While Burt’s and Sally’s legendary relationship met a bitter end, not every Hollywood couple, as we said, meets a similar fate. In an industry notorious for revolving-door relationships, Jeff Bridges and Susan Geston are an exception to the rule.
Born in Los Angeles California, on December 4, 1949, Jeff Bridges seemed destined to be a star. His father, Lloyd Bridges, was already a well-respected actor, and in 1951, Jeff made his feature film debut in The Company She Keeps at the age of two.
Jeff went on to appear in many notable projects in the following years, though his big break came in 1971 when he landed the role of Duane Jackson in The Last Picture Show. At just 22, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
But as he’d soon find out, his role in 1975’s Rancho Deluxe was his most significant yet. His performance didn’t earn him any award nominations, but it was during this time that he came across something even better: the love of his life.
While filming scenes at a Montana Roadhouse, Jeff couldn’t help but notice a young woman waiting on a few of the tables nearby. “I knew I was madly in love with [her] the minute I saw her,” he once recalled to Conan O’Brien.
That waitress, of course, was Susan Geston, a native of Fargo, North Dakota, working to pay her way through college. But even with a Hollywood pedigree like his, Jeff was still too shy to talk to her at first.
In fact, Jeff actually hid behind a magazine during their first encounter, stealing quick glances at her as she waited on customers. Finally, Jeff managed to muster up the courage to ask her out — and, believe it or not, she said no!
This was surely a huge blow to Jeff’s ego, and with the film wrapping in the coming days, a life with Susan seemed no more than wishful thinking. Well, Jeff’s wish wound up coming true, as after Susan showed up at the Rancho Deluxe wrap party, the two got to talking and hit it off.
Their relationship blossomed, and after a quick return trip to LA, Jeff made his way back to Montana for Susan. After loading up a rented RV, the couple then headed for the west coast, choosing to settle down at Jeff’s Malibu home.
Several years passed, and Jeff was content to remain in a committed relationship — Susan, however, wanted more. But when faced with the prospect of marriage and starting a family, Jeff wasn’t exactly thrilled with the idea.
“I don’t know how it is for women or for other guys, but when I was young and in my 20s, I had a fear of marriage,” he told Reader’s Digest. “I thought it was a giant step toward death. So I did everything in my power to resist it — the idea was frightening to me, man.”
With the couple at odds over their future, Susan opted to move out, though the couple continued to date one another exclusively. But when Susan got a job offer that threatened to take her back to Montana, Jeff came to an immediate realization: she was, and always would be, the “one.”
“I said, ‘Oh God, I can’t let this woman go,'” Jeff recounted in a 2015 interview with OWN. “I had this vision of an old guy thinking there was this girl from Montana, man, why didn’t I marry her.”
And so, not wanting to become the man from his vision, Jeff did just that. On June 5, 1977 – just five days after he’d proposed – Jeff and Susan tied the knot.
As expected, the transition to married life wasn’t an easy one for Jeff, and the early days of his marriage with Susan weren’t all sunshine and rainbows. Gradually, however, Jeff began to realize that married life wasn’t the “death trap” he once envisioned it to be.
“What you don’t know until you get married is that you think all the other doors close, which is true, but this doorway you open [with marriage] is a hallway lined with all these other brilliant doors — kids, deeper intimacy, adventures, and everything else,” Jeff explained.
This newfound perspective also helped Jeff and Susan deal with disagreements, of which there were many in the early years of their marriage. According to Jeff, the couple learned to hear each other out, sitting face to face and letting the other speak uninterrupted so their feelings could be acknowledged.
It seems this method has worked wonders for their relationship, as 42 years later, Jeff and Susan have built an incredible life together. The couple has three adult daughters – Isabelle, Jessica, and Haley – and one grandchild to go with them.
But perhaps the most surprising success that the actor attributes to his wife is his legendary film career. While it was the gruff, long-haired Jeff that captivated us on screen, it was Susan’s work behind the scenes that really made it all happen.
“In the  years we’ve been married, we’ve done 50 movies together,” Jeff wrote. “I say ‘we’ because Sue deserves a credit too. I’m the guy who makes the buck, but she’s the one who takes care of everything else. I really am more in love with her than ever.”