A jury decided on Thursday, December 19 that actor Ryan O'Neal could keep a portrait of his late longtime lover Farrah Fawcett painted by famed artist Andy Warhol with him. The University of Texas sued O'Neal in 2011 over the portrait which they claimed was bequeathed to the school by the star prior to her death.
The jury, however, ruled 9 to 3 in O'Neal's favor at the Wednesday session at Los Angeles Superior Court. According to the Associated Press, O'Neal was not present when the verdict was delivered, but his two children were in the court. Patrick O'Neal spoke to his father and he said his father "was very happy."
O'Neal and Fawcett had on-and-off relationship which lasted for almost 3 decades. The couple also has a child together. Prior to her death from cancer in 2009, Fawcett gifted her collection of artwork to her alma mater, University of Texas at Austin. The school saw the said portrait being placed in O'Neal's bedroom on a reality show and claimed ownership. Warhol painted two similar portraits and the school said Fawcett had wanted to give them to the school.
During his testimony, the 72-year-old actor told the court that Andy Warhol was a friend. According to O'Neal, the portrait is a gift from the famed artist for arranging the portrait session. "I talk to it, I talk to her. It's her presence, her presence in my life, in her son's life. We lost her; it seemed a crime to lose it too," he told the court. Fawcett's friend, Jaclyn Smith, also testified in his favor.
O'Neal's team estimated that the 1980 Warhol portrait was worth $800,000 to $1 million. Art appraiser from the university, meanwhile, estimated the price at $12 million.