O'Neal sues ex-Fawcett associate for defamation

By the Associated Press | July 14, 2011 | 8:29 PM EDT

FILE - In this March 5, 1989 file photo, actors Ryan O'Neal, left, and Farrah Fawcett are shown at the premiere of the film. "Chances Are," in New York. O'Neal sued a former associated of his late partner Farrah Fawcett Thursday, July 14, 2011, claiming the man was the source of allegations that the actor was improperly holding onto an Andy Warhol portrait of actress. (AP Photo/Ray Stubblebine, file)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ryan O'Neal has sued a former associate of longtime partner Farrah Fawcett and claims the man is responsible for a Texas university's attempts to reclaim an Andy Warhol portrait of the actress.

O'Neal's defamation lawsuit against Craig Nevius Thursday seeks more than $1 million in damages. The lawsuit claims Nevius' comments that the actor was improperly keeping the Warhol painting led the University of Texas system to sue O'Neal last week for control of the painting.

Fawcett, who died in 2009, granted all her artwork to the university system. O'Neal claims the disputed Warhol portrait was given to him by the artist and never belonged to Fawcett.

Nevius claims O'Neal's lawsuit is an attempt to silence him.

The case was first reported by celebrity website TMZ.