Actress Tatum O'Neal insists her new reality show with her father is helping them end years of estrangement - even though he's still struggling to say the right things.
The O'Neals debuted their new show Ryan & Tatum on Oprah Winfrey's Own Tv network in America at the weekend (19Jun11), but it's comments the movie veteran has made in interviews promoting the show that have grabbed the headlines.
Speaking to CNN newsman Piers Morgan, Ryan suggested his daughter may have been partly responsible for his longtime partner Farrah Fawcett's cancer death and he has also accused Tatum of "faking" suicides and lying about her introduction to drugs and alcohol.
Speaking to Morgan during an appearance on his show on Monday night (20Jun11), O'Neal said, ""I just think that if she (Fawcett) had never met us, would she still be alive today... because nobody knows what causes cancer, do they really? There was turmoil during my love affair with Farrah, a lot of it caused by my family - particularly Tatum."
But his daughter has taken his remarks lightly and in an appearance on U.S. magazine show Access Hollywood Live on Wednesday (22Jun11), she played down his comments, stating, "I listened to the whole interview and I think he sort of started trying to say things and then he kind of came all the way round and pulled it back and said, 'I do need to try harder, I do need to go further and make the changes I haven't made.' I think he is definitely trying.
"I think that he's sort of come off badly recently and I don't think that's fair and a lot of his interviews have been misconstrued... Nothing's perfect but we're trying."
And she insists the tough-to-watch reality TV show is helping to bring father and daughter closer together - because her father has to talk to her when the cameras are rolling: "He tends to have more impetus to talk if he's being (sic) on camera... because he can't run away. Some people don't like to have that conversation with their daughter."
But her father has quite some way to go before he understands how his actions have driven his family away in the past.
Tatum adds, "Everybody's in their own process; I'm way farther along than he is... People are seeing him as not possibly the best dad that he could have been and it's his opportunity now to come back and be the man that he could be and wants to be.
"I give him a lot of props for putting himself out there in a kind of family drama that can hopefully help a lot of people."