OSCAR-WINNING ACTOR TATUM O’NEAL TELLS “CBS SUNDAY MORNING” THAT DEALING WITH RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS IS HER BIGGEST CHALLENGE EVER
Oscar-winning actor Tatum O’Neal has battled addiction and tabloid headlines in the past. However, dealing with rheumatoid arthritis is her biggest challenge ever, she tells Tracy Smith in an interview for CBS SUNDAY MORNING, to be broadcast Sunday, Feb. 9 (9:00 AM, ET) on the CBS Television Network.
O’Neal, who was just 10 years old when she won an Academy Award for her work in the 1973 film “Paper Moon,” says rheumatoid arthritis can make every move a painful struggle.
“That means that my hands stopped working,” O’Neal says. “It means that – I can’t really tie my shoes. It means that I can’t – I mean, I can’t tie my shoes. I have to re-learn to write. And definitely need surgery on my left knee and my neck in the next week.”
O’Neal tells Smith that through it all, her daughter, actor Emily McEnroe, has been her rock.
“My mom is incredibly loving,” Emily McEnroe says. “She’s childlike and has always been honest, like she said, fun-loving, just bright. My mom lights up every room that she enters. And that’s true.”
In a wide-ranging interview, O’Neal opens up about her acting career, her children, her relationship with ex-husband tennis great John McEnroe and with her father, actor Ryan O’Neal.
O’Neal, 56, says she and McEnroe are on good terms now and that their three children may have saved her life.
“I was really ready to kind of fall down and – and not get back up. I was not myself,” O’Neal says of being a young, married mother of three at the time. “I was 22 and then the kids gave me kind of a real reason to keep going and fight. And still the happiest times of my life were the times that I – that I was married – funny enough. So the most stable, the most loved, the most – so sometimes we’re thinking we made the right decision and maybe we aren’t. And I have to live with that, too.”
Asked what decision she was referring to, she tells Smith she means the decision to leave her marriage.
“That maybe looking back it wasn’t the right decision,” Smith asks.
“Perhaps not,” O’Neal says. “I was loved. I was cared for. We are very different now. But, I, he’s happier, and I’m happy for him. And that makes me happy.”
CBS SUNDAY MORNING is broadcast Sundays (9:00-10:30 AM, ET) on the CBS Television Network. Rand Morrison is the executive producer.
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