Ryan O’Neal and Tatum O’Neal, 2022 | Ryan O’Neal and Tatum O’Neal, 1973 | Source: Instagram.com/tatum__oneal | Getty Images
- Tatum O’Neal overdosed and fell into a coma during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
- She and her father, Ryan O’Neal, were separated for years before reconciling and rebuilding their relationship.
In July 2023, Tatum O’Neal, Ryan O’Neal’s daughter, revealed she was in a six-week coma after suffering a severe stroke in May 2020 caused by an overdose of prescription drugs. The actress confessed that she almost died because of this incident.
Kevin McEnroe, 37, her eldest child with ex-husband John McEnroe, confessed he and his siblings anticipated the phone call about his mother being hospitalized with an overdose. He also revealed that Tatum, 59, suffered multiple seizures and went into cardiac arrest.
Kevin admitted there were times when they thought their mum wouldn’t make it, but luckily she did. Besides him, Tatum’s other adult children were Emily, 32, and Sean, 35, and they feared she might never talk or walk again.
The Oscar-winning star had spent the last three years in different rehab (rehabilitation) centers trying to regain his memory, strength and reading and writing skills. The actress had struggled with addiction issues for decades, and she admitted:
“I’ve been through a lot.”
Ryan’s daughter began using and abusing prescription drugs early in the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the medications were opioids prescribed for his rheumatoid arthritis, neck and back pain.
In May 2020, she overdosed on morphine, opiates and painkillers, but a friend luckily found her in her Century City apartment and was rushed to hospital. At the time, Tatum had self-isolated as he suffered from chronic pain and COVID-19.
Kevin believed his mother felt no hope for herself, and while in hospital, she was diagnosed with aphasia. The disorder arose when the language center of the brain was damaged and Tatum’s right frontal cortex was found to be affected.
Her stay in the hospital was filled with fears, like when they thought she had gone deaf, blind and mute. The actress failed to communicate when she emerged from a coma and did not know her whereabouts, and coronavirus restrictions prevented her family from seeing her in hospital.
Kevin and his siblings communicated with their mother through video and phone calls, but Emily also visited her while standing behind a glass partition. The actress underwent regular therapy for the next two years after being placed under medical supervision and fought to regain her memory.
The star still couldn’t remember some things, but her vocabulary had improved and improved. Her eldest revealed that the things that made her mother take the drug were still there, but she was now attending twelve-step meetings and working with a doctor, Tatum saying:
“I’ve tried to get sober all my life. Every day I try.”
While Tatum had the incredible support of all of his children, one person who made time to be added to the equation was his famous father. Ryan once tried to hit on his daughter because he didn’t recognize her.
How long did Ryan and Tatum stop talking?
In 2009 Ryan, 68, confessed he tried to chat with Tatum, 45, at Farrah Fawcett’s funeral because he didn’t recognize her after not seeing her for ‘a few years’ . He recalled a gorgeous blonde woman approaching before kissing him after he placed her late lover’s coffin in the hearse.
The last time Moore’s ex-husband was with his daughter and grandkids was in 2003…
The actor asked Tatum if she had a drink or a car before calling him “Dad” and telling him who she was! Ryan said he was only trying to joke around with a weird Swedish girl, only to find out she was his daughter.
He admitted the incident was their relationship in a nutshell, and it had been a few years since they had seen each other. In 2011, the actress revealed in her first memoir, “A Paper Life,” that she had a neglected childhood and experimented with alcohol and drugs after her parents divorced.
Her follow-up book was called ‘Found’, and her father frowned on it, with Joanna Moore’s daughter revealing how she and Ryan didn’t ‘get along’ at the time. Tatum felt that her father did not see her for the person she had become or in a positive light because of her anger issues.
The last time Moore’s ex-husband was with his daughter and grandchildren was in 2003, during the 30th anniversary of “Paper Moon.” Tatum and Ryan had starred together in the 1973 film, but it took seventeen years before they reunited in September 2020.
Sean shared an Instagram image of their reunion and called it “one of the most memorable photos” of his life. On April 21, 2023, Tatum and her dad proved they had totally reconciled when she shared an Instagram photo of them smiling while sitting on a bed in Los Angeles, California, wishing him a happy birthday before stating his love.