Tatum O’Neal Breaks Her Silence on Father Ryan O’Neal’s Death

Tatum O’Neal Breaks Her Silence on Father Ryan O’Neal’s Death

Tatum O’Neal is paying homage to her father, Ryan O’Neal, who died Friday at the age of 82.

In a statement to People, the Oscar winner said she feels “great sorrow” with her father’s passing. She added, “He meant the world to me. I loved him very much and know he loved me too. I’ll miss him forever and I feel very lucky that we ended on such good terms.”

Ryan and ex-wife Joanna Moore welcomed Tatum in 1963 and son, Griffin, the following year. Ryan and Joanna tied the knot in 1963 and divorced in 1967 after four years of marriage. Tatum’s statement came not long after Ryan’s son, Patrick, announced his father’s death on his Instagram page.

“So this is the toughest thing I’ve ever had to say but here we go. My dad passed away peacefully today, with his loving team by his side supporting him and loving him as he would us,” Patrick wrote. “This is very difficult for my wife Summer and I, but I will share some feelings to give you an idea of how great a man he is.”

Tatum was only 9 years old when she began filming Paper Moon alongside her father. She’d go on to win an Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress, becoming the youngest person ever (at 10 years old) to win the coveted awards. But her young Hollywood success came at a price.

Ryan O'Neal sits with Tatum O'Neal in a scene from the film Paper Moon in 1973. – Getty

Tatum struggled with drug addiction throughout her life, and revealed in her 2005 autobiography, A Paper Life, that her father was abusive and introduced her to drugs. They would eventually lose touch for nearly two decades. In 2011, Ryan admitted that he was unaware of his daughter’s whereabout for years. 

“It’s embarrassing,” Ryan stated at the time. “I don’t know how that happened. I’m only learning now how to [for us] find a way back. We’re working on it.”

The Love Story star also revealed how his relationship with the late Farrah Fawcett could have possibly helped create friction between him and Tatum, who on Saturday took to her Instagram Story and posted two throwback photos with her father and old footage of them conducting an interview on the red carpet.

“We just met and it was Tatum’s standpoint that I had lost interest in my family and I had found a new interest in my life,” Ryan disclosed. “That appalled her and so she fled.”

Despite all they’d been through, Ryan and Tatum began their reconciliation in 2011. Parts of their reunion were captured for a short-lived OWN series Ryan and Tatum: The O’Neals.

In September 2020, Tatum’s son, Sean McEnroe, shared a photo of Ryan, Tatum, and her three children, all reunited amidst the COVID epidemic and ongoing California wildfires.

“This is one of the most memorable photos of my life,” Sean captioned the sweet family shot. “The last time we were all together was at the 30-year Paper Moon Anniversary in 2003. I could cry tears of gratitude that everyone in this photo is still alive and that we were all able to come together again after so many years of hardship. The entire West Coast is burning, but if the O’Neals can reconcile, truly anything is possible.”

Tatum’s last Instagram post with her father was on his 82nd birthday, on April 21, 2023. “Happy birthday dad I love you,” she captioned the smiling pic.


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