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Hollywood star Tatum O’Neal — who has struggled with drug addiction for decades — opened up about the stroke she suffered in 2020 from an overdose, which she said almost killed her, and her long path to recovery.
During an interview with the 59-year-old actress and her son, Kevin McEnroe, the two talked about how O’Neal is doing several years into recovery after her overdose and stroke — which resulted in spending six weeks in a coma.
“I almost died,” O’Neal told People magazine.
McEnroe, her son with ex-husband and former tennis star John McEnroe, said when his mom overdosed, “It was the phone call we’d always been waiting for.”
“She also had a cardiac arrest and a number of seizures,” McEnroe said. “There were times we didn’t think she was going to survive.”
— People (@people) July 5, 2023
The star’s son said the isolation his mom felt during COVID combined with chronic pain was one of the factors that led to the overdose and stroke.
“She had become very isolated,” McEnroe said. “With the addition of morphine and heavier pharmaceuticals, it was getting scary. COVID, chronic pain, all these things led to a place of isolation. In that place, I don’t think, for her, there was much hope.”
In May 2020, the Oscar winner was found by a friend in her Century City apartment where she was rushed to the hospital after an overdose.
There she was diagnosed with aphasia and “had damage to her right frontal cortex,” McEnroe told the outlet.
“At times, it was touch and go,” he added. “I had to call my brother and sister and say she was thought to be blind, deaf and potentially might never speak again.”
“She didn’t know where she was,” McEnroe continued “She couldn’t say, ‘I’m scared.'”
For the past three years, O’Neal has been working hard to get back her strength, memory, and ability to read and write.
“I’ve been through a lot,” the actress said.
McEnroe admitted his mom still has a ways to go as she works on her recovery and noted that, “Emotionally the things that made my mom want to take drugs in the first place, those things are still very present.”
“I’ve been trying to get sober my whole life,” the “Paper Moon” star said. “Every day, I am trying.”
O’Neal has a total of three kids whom she shares with her ex-husband: Kevin, Emily, and Sean.