HOLLYWOOD—HELLO AMERICA! When young Ron Reagan Jr., decided to write a book about his late father, President Ronald Reagan, it caused a major rift in the family. The late president’s adopted son, Michael, was livid concerning some of the things written by his brother. Michael’s mother was Reagan’s first wife, Jane Wyman, who has written about the Reagan years.
Ron Jr. simply stated in his book that he noticed signs of Alzheimer’s, near the end of his father’s second term in office. His observation did not come across as mean or angry, he appeared to be very upfront and honest. However, Michael was livid and made all sorts of disparaging remarks about his young brother, indicating that Ron Jr. was an embarrassment to their father, and now he was more of an embarrassment to his mother, Nancy.
Michael, of course, was referring to Ron’s life as a ballet dancer during the years of their father’s White House reign. Their relationship became even more strained when all the gossip columns alluded to the rumors that seemed to follow Reagan Jr. no matter where he went. Even after he married, the rumors persisted. However, he managed to do what he wanted to do, creatively and artistically.
How much support did his father and mother give him? Well, his mother, Nancy, was very supportive; he was able to talk with her about his ideas, future goals and what was really important to him. Nancy seemed to understand. The president was another story. He had a difficult time communicating with him, as did his rebel sister, Patty. There were constant arguments, difference of opinions and public outbursts that hit the front pages of newspapers.
The bottom line is that many people admired and liked Ron Jr. and his sister, Patty. They appeared to be sensitive and extremely caring about people who every day simply struggled to survive. Michael, on the other hand, seemed to work extremely hard to be accepted by the money-men or the power-brokers of the Republican Party. It’s interesting to note that the president didn’t seem to have much to do with him, no matter what he said or did. As Ron Jr. puts it, “My dad was more into himself, than he was for any of us. Once you discovered that, then life with him wasn’t too bad. My mother was the one he looked to—the one person, he gave all.”
As for the feud between Ron and his brother, Michael, he laughed and said: “Michael has always hid from the truth—he always wanted something that really wasn’t there. It’s the story of his life.”