Farrah Fawcett has fallen under the microscope as she seeks treatment for cancer. Headlines are all but announcing her death. Now Fawcett is speaking out.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, she alleges the hospital where she sought cancer treatment pressured her to donate money. And worse, they sold her medical records to the National Enquirer. Explosive allegations that Fawcett says have taken a big toll on her health.
"I knew immediately that the information was coming from UCLA to the National Enquirer. So when my cancer came back, that's when I set it up with the doctor, I said, ‘Okay, you know and I know,' so I knew if it came out it was coming from UCLA."
The "Charlie's Angels" star says UCLA Medical Center initially did nothing to stop it. UCLA eventually did investigate the matter and found one of its employees had been looking at patients' records, but the hospital would not reveal the name to Fawcett's lawyers.
“She said, 'We have a responsibility to protect our employees.' And I said, 'More than your patients?'" says Fawcett.
The interview with the Los Angeles Times was recorded last August but held until now, timed to the release of her new documentary. In the interview Fawcett says cancer "becomes your life…it's all consuming... Then, your quality of life is never the same."
And Fawcett places blame squarely on the tabloids for making public a story she had hoped to keep private.
“It is like buying stolen goods. You know you are committing a crime."
UCLA Medical Center would not comment specifically about the case or whether Fawcett was even a patient. But it did release its policy on privacy, which states in part:
"In the wake of past patient privacy violations, the UCLA health system instituted an internal audit and has taken this opportunity to strengthen our internal systems. Our practice is one of zero tolerance..." Statement from Roxanne Yamaguchi Moster – Director, UCLA Health Sciences Media Relations
In sickness and in health, Farrah Fawcett, the 1970’s icon remains America’s fascination.
"The beauty of Farrah Fawcett is in such stark contrast to what we are seeing now that I think it's that punctuation that has really riveted people," says Harvey Levin, executive producer, TMZ.
A spokesman for Fawcett's longtime companion Ryan O'Neil says the actress remains stable and continues to fight. Just as her documentary, her most challenging role, is set to debut.
"I am holding onto the hope that there is some reason I got cancer and that there is something that may not be very clear to me right now, but that I will do,” says Fawcett.
CNN reached out repeatedly to the National Enquirer and has not heard back.
A representative for the actress says her cancer is a line she would not allow to be crossed. He told us if the Enquirer writes that Fawcett is stopping treatment and dying she will hear from cancer patients who will say “If you're giving up hope, what hope is there for me?” And that, Fawcett's rep says, is the reason she is speaking out.