Actress Tatum O’Neal revealed in a recent interview that she has struggled with drug addiction for years, and an overdose led to a stroke that almost killed her. The Oscar winner told People Magazine that she suffered a stroke in 2020 that left her in a coma for six weeks.
Her son Kevin said a phone call from the hospital was one he had dreaded. “She also had a cardiac arrest and a number of seizures. There were times we didn’t think she was going to survive,” he said.
In May 2020, a friend found O’Neal unconscious in her apartment and rushed her to hospital. She was diagnosed with aphasia and damage to her right frontal cortex. Aphasia is a condition that often results from stroke and can leave patients unable to speak. Tatum’s son said he feared this would be his mother’s fate.
The 59-year-old star rose to fame in 1974 when she won an Academy Award at the age of 10. In her memoirs, released in 2004, she revealed a difficult childhood. She and her brother went to live with their father when their parents divorced and both report that he was violent and a drug abuser. Griffin O’Neal, her brother, once alleged that their father gave him cocaine when he was 11 years old, and Tatum alleges physical abuse and molestation.
The actress married tennis star John McEnroe in 1986 and they have three children together. That relationship is described as volatile – McEnroe sued for custody of his children when Tatum developed a heroin addiction. She sought help and became sober so she could have a relationship with her children, and she told People Magazine she’s been “trying to get sober” for most of her life.
Since her stroke in 2020, she has focused on her recovery and says she has maintained sobriety since 2018. “Every day I am trying. I want to be with my beautiful three kids,” she said.