In an interview with CBS Sunday Morning, actress Tatum O’Neal opened up to correspondent Tracy Smith about a host of topics, including missing her ex-husband and the father of her three children, tennis legend John McEnroe.
“The happiest times of my life were the times that I was married,” O’Neal said in the interview. “Sometimes we think we're making the right decision and maybe we aren't. And I have to live with that, too."
When Smith asked if O’Neal thought ending her marriage was the right decision she said, “Perhaps not. I was loved, I was cared for ... That's it, that's what one wants, isn't it, in a marriage? I've never met anyone who even comes close to my ex-husband.”
She added, “He's happier, and I'm happy for him. And that makes me happy." McEnroe has been married to the singer Patty Smyth since 1997.
O’Neal and McEnroe separated in 1992 after six years of marriage. Their 1994 divorce was famously dramatic, with accusations of drug abuse on both sides. After the divorce, O’Neal became a heroin addict and lost custody of her children. She eventually got clean, but these days the 56-year-old is facing a different health challenge: rheumatoid arthritis.
“My hands stopped working," O'Neal told Smith after she asked what rheumatoid arthritis means for her daily life. "It means that I can't tie my shoes. I have to re-learn to write. And I definitely need surgery on my left knee and my neck coming up in the next week."
The actress also talked about her estranged father Ryan O’Neal, with whom she famously shared the screen in 1973’s Paper Moon, for which the 10-year-old O’Neal won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar.
"Would I love if my dad and I were closer? There are no words," O'Neal said. "He was the first love of my life. But sometimes things don't work out the way you want them to. And I can love unconditionally without [it being] reciprocal. And I think my dad does love me. So, that's what I tend to believe, even though we don't talk as often as I would like, or see each other as often as I would like."
Still even with arthritis, a remorseful divorce and a strained relationship with her father, O’Neal expressed a great deal of optimism about her future. “I think the best years are still ahead of me,” she said.
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