Who is Tatum O’Neal? Everything We Know About Her

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Tatum O’Neal is an Oscar-winning actress and novelist from the United States.

She is the youngest to win an Oscar for her outstanding performance in the 1973 American comedy-drama Paper Moon.

Starting as the classic child star, overcoming drugs, despair, and a failed marriage to emerge as a strong woman, The life of Tatum O’Neal is a complete roller coaster.

Tatum O'Neal
Beautiful Tatum O’Neal

In today’s article, we will know the amazing life journey of Tatum O’Neal but before that, Let’s look at her quick facts.

Quick Facts

Full Name Tatum Beatrice O’Neal
Known as Tatum O’Neal
Birth Date November 05, 1963
Birth Place Los Angeles, California, United States
Residence Manhattan
Religion Christian
Nationality American
Ethnicity White
Education N/A
Horoscope Scorpio
Father’s Name Ryan O’Neal
Mother’s Name Јоаnnа Мооrе
Siblings Griffin O’Neal
Age 60 years old
Height 1.72 m/5’7″
Weight 72 kg/158 lbs
Eye Color Hazel green
Hair Color Blonde
Marital Status Divorced
Ex-husband John McEnroe
Children Three: Emily McEnroe, Sean McEnroe, Kevin Mc Enroe
Profession Actor, Author
Movie Debut Paper Moon
Achievement Youngest award recipient for Oscar Award
Net Worth $1.5 million
Merch A Paper Life (Book), Movies
Last Update February, 2024

Tatum O’Neal | Early Life

Tatum O’Neal wаѕ bоrn оn Nоvеmbеr 05, 1963, tо actors Rуаn О’Nеаl аnd Јоаnnа Мооrе. She has a brother named Griffin O’Neal.

On the surface, Tatum seemed to be born lucky in a high-profile and famous family. But, Tatum had a very harsh childhood.

Тhе раrеntѕ оf О’Nеаl dіvоrсеd іn 1967 when she was just four years old. Tatum stayed with her mother after the divorce.

Tatum with her parents
Tatum with her parents Ryan O’Neal with Joanna Moore in 1965

But, her mother was a drug addict and alcoholic. Ultimately, her mother lost custody, and she started living with her father.

Her father had several affairs after a divorce. He married actress Taylor Young with whom he has a son named Patrick. They divorced shortly after.

Her father abandoned Tatum and her brother after he moved in with his new wife, Farrah Fawcett. They were left to sustain themselves alone.

Tatum hаѕ аnоthеr hаlf brоthеr Rеdmоnd frоm hеr fаthеr’ѕ rеlаtіоnѕhір wіth Fаrrаh Fаwсеtt.

Таtum’s mother dіеd аt thе аgе оf 63 duе tо lung саnсеr.

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Tatum’s relationship with her father

In her autobiography, A Paper Life, Tatum stated that she had been abused physically and emotionally due to her father’s drug addiction.

On top of that, Tatum says his father is a womanizer and had publically flirted with her in her mom Fawcett’s funeral in 2009, oblivious to the fact that she was his daughter.

She says she went to the funeral and her father asked her to have a drink with him in the car flirtingly.

She was disgusted with his behavior and said that she was his daughter and left from there.

His father was high on drugs that he didn’t even identify his daughter. Tatum says she and her dad have no interaction at all.

After she wrote about his behavior in her autobiography, his father was very angry with her. This further broke their relationship as father and daughter.

In 2011,  Tatum reconciled with her father after 25 years. They sought to restore their broken father-daughter relationship through a tv show named Ryan and Tatum: The O’Neals.

It was an Oprah Winfrey Network series that O’Neal produced which showed their reunion and reconciliation. There were only nine episodes in the show focusing on their relationship.

Tatum O’Neal | Movie Career

The Paper Moon: The award-winning debut

Director Peter Bogdanovich approached Tatum’s father with a proposal for them to co-star in a film based on Joe David Brown’s novel Addie Pray (1971).

Tatum was just eight years old at that time, and she had never acted before. But, she amazed everyone with her excellent acting skills in the movie Paper Moon.

The film earned her critical acclaim and a Golden Globe Award for the most promising new actress and the Academy Award.

She is the youngest recipient of the Best supporting actor in the Oscar Award.

Becoming highest paid child actor

After her debut film, the popularity of Tatum skyrocketed. She received over $300,000 to appear in 1976’s Bad News Bears, making her the highest-paid child actor of that time.

Tatum was featured in many movies such as International Velvet (1978), Nickelodeon (1976), Circle of Two (1980), and so on.

The actress also played the title career in the Faerie Tale Theatre episode “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”

Tatum O’Neal and John McEnroe: The Marriage

Tatum O’Neal became an overnight star after becoming the youngest actress to win Best supporting actress in Oscar. 

She started appearing more in films and hanging out with the big names in the industry. On the other hand, John Mc Enroe was slowly paving his way to becoming the top tennis player.

The two stars met at a celebrity gathering. John Mc Enroe was invited to the party following his third championship.

It was John who made the first move. Mc Enroe was a huge fan of O’Neal but he played it cool. 

Both stayed back on the corner, talking to each other at the party. Though it was their first meet, they instantly clicked with one another.

atum O'Neal with John Mc Enroe
Tatum O’Neal with her ex-husband John Mc Enroe.

They even kissed and it was just the starting of their blossoming romance.

Both started dating despite their hectic schedule. Their love was blooming but with their romance, there was another thing that was blooming.

It was their addiction to drugs. Mc Enroe tried it just for fun, but Tatum O’Neal was developing an addiction.

Tatum was highly addicted to the drugs that she was out of control. She used all of the drugs that Mc Enroe had saved.

O’neal was getting out of hand, and they had no idea how to stop this drug addiction. The solution that came up in their mind at that time was having a child.

The couple married in private at Oyster Bay, New York, but no one from Tatum’s family attended the wedding.

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Tatum O’Neal | Children

Tatum O’Neal gave birth to her first child, Kevin, in May 1986.

The couple then welcomed their second son, Sean, in 1988. Their third child, Emily, was born in 1991.

Tatum O'Neal with her children
Tatum O’Neal with her children.

But, by the time Emily was born, the couple’s relationship had hit the rock bottom.

Tatum O’Neal’s Divorce and Custody Battle

Although O’Neal overcame her drugs addiction to take care of her child. Their relationship was slowly withering away.
Mc Enroe said that she was bitter about him being successful while she stayed home. On the other side, O’Neal claims that he was abusive to her.

The couple attempted to fix their relationship but ultimately decided that divorce was the best option.

They split up in 1992 and divorced legally two years later. The ex-couple split custody of the three children.

But, O’Neal’s old behaviors returned when she was forced to spend alternating weeks alone and away from the children.

She was stressed about the failure of her marriage and began abusing cocaine and heroin again. One day, Emily, then 7 years old, discovered a syringe in her mother’s apartment.

McEnroe was given exclusive custody of the children following the incident, and O’Neal was given supervised visitations and had to submit to drug tests before visiting the children.

Tatum O’Neal | Drug Addiction

Unfortunately, Tatum O Neal has a family history of Drug Addiction. Tatum had a hard time growing up due to her parent’s addiction to drugs.

The actress had to face physical and mental abuse from her parents as a result of Drug addiction. On top of that, her parents divorced at the age of four.

Her mother was also a drug addict and alcoholic and used to bring series of men into the home. Tatum revealed in her book that one of the men sexually molested her at the age of 6.

She was then taken care of by her father, who also physically and mentally abused her. She didn’t have a good childhood and love from her parents.

This led her to be addicted to drugs as well. But, her addiction grew so much that it was out of control. 

Tatum controlled her drug addiction to take care of her children. But, her marriage failed and she lost her children to custody.

She became more drawn to drugs. She was even arrested as the police found Cocaine in her Manhatten Apartment.

O’Neal went to rehab following that and has recovered from the drug addiction.

Tatum O’Neal’s | Disease

Tatum O’Neal was diagnosed with painful Rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 56. The disease had left scars on her body and it was hard for the actress to deal with it.

Rheumatoid arthritis, often known as RA, is an autoimmune illness in which the immune system assaults the joints, resulting in inflammation, discomfort, and swelling.

The disease is one of the common diseases particularly affecting women. It can possibly strike at any age, although it most commonly strikes between the ages of 30 and 50.

RA symptoms include joint pain, stiffness, edema, loss of joint function, weakness, weight loss, and weariness.

The actress claim it was a painful journey, and she is happy that she finally got over it.

Tatum O’Neal’s | Autobiography

Tatum O’Neal wrote an autobiography named A Paper Life, where she addressed her movie career, family life, and her addiction to drugs.

She published the book in 2004, where she confessed that she was sexually assaulted by one of her father’s drug dealers when she was just 12.

Tatum also alleges physical and emotional abuse of her father and how hard it was for her to deal with it.

She also wrote about her drug addiction and how it affected her marriage and relationship with her children. She admitted in the book that she regrets divorcing John Mc Enroe.

After the success of Paper life, Tatum published another autobiography namely Found: A Daughter’s Journey Home in 2011.

This book talked about her relationship with her father, her marriage, and her drug arrest.

Tatum O’Neal’s | Net Worth

The total net worth of Tatum O’Neal is estimated to be $1.5 Million. 

She was the highest-paid child actor at that time and had more than 35+ movies credited under her name.

The actress was famous in her early days but her adult career was ruined due to her drug addiction.

Tatum is also a novelist. Her autobiography A paper life was one of the best-selling auto-biography in which she wrote about her life in general.


Who is the youngest girl to win an Oscar?

Tatum Oneal was just ten years old when she won the Academy Award, making her the youngest girl to win an Oscar.

Did Tatum really smoke in Paper Moon?

No, the cigarettes in Paper Moon were filled with lettuce instead of Tobacco.

Is Tatum Oneal ill?

Yes, Tatum Oneal had Rheumatoid arthritis but now she has recovered.

Did Tatum Oneal pitch in Bad News Bears?

Yes, Tatum Oneal pitched in Bad News Bears. However,  some of them were done by stunt doubles.

Shaddy is a passionate writer and overall wordsmith. She is committed to satisfying your appetite for the content. She is not only an avid celebrity style enthusiast but also a singer herself. She makes cover songs during her free times.

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