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A Paper Life seemed to be a purging of your many demons, whereas this book seems to be a lot more reflective.It’s where I’m at then, and it’s where I’m at today; sort of telling who I am and where my journey is.
As long as you have parents who are standing by you. The truth is, it was hard and sort of painful at times, because I was on this truthful mission trying to get him to talk and acknowledge me. [Tearing up] If you don’t acknowledge me even for who I am today, as the mother that cares for her children or a person that’s alive and not shooting drugs, that’s what I wanted. Did you send your father a manuscript of the book before it came out? Now that this book is out, and you’re finished filming the first season of your docuseries, how would you characterize you and your father’s relationship today? That is not to say that if I felt like I was in any way disrespected, or if he tries to push me or get me to do something for him—he’s coming to New York and we’re going to do press together, and they’re going to ask him questions he’s not going to like, and his way is to look at little me, Tatum the daughter, and have me try to get them to stop. Because of that, I’m grateful, and that is what’s inspired me to keep going.
Let’s face it: it’s not really reality if you’re making more money than most adults make in their lifetime, and people love you that have never met you. With that kind of unreality, people lose sight of little brains versus adult brains. I didn’t even care if he said, “I’m sorry.” But, it didn’t happen. Or, he’ll blame me for putting him in that position.
It’s interesting, because you say in your book that your father was disapproving of all your boyfriends except for Michael Jackson. He liked Michael Jackson but he likes famous people. But I don’t think he wanted me to have any dates the same way I didn’t want him to have any dates.
Aside from Judy Garland, you were one of the first child stars who succumbed to the perils of fame and celebrity—namely, drugs.
If you end up with say, a heroin addiction, some people end up with it because of nothing. For me, I had a lot of pain and bruising that happened to my soul, and I didn’t feel wanted, so in writing the first book, it took a minute for me to think about how to heal yourself.
Is it writing a book, is it talking to a therapist, is it taking drugs, is it not taking drugs? Were you motivated to write this book in part because of the way the media treated you during your 2008 drug arrest?
All of this was chronicled in her 2004 New York Times bestselling memoir, A Paper Life, of which her reportedly furious father told the New York Daily News, "It is a sad day when malicious lies are told in order to become a 'best-seller.’” Love truly is a battlefield.
Tatum has been sober for the past seven years, but made front-page headlines in 2008, when she was arrested purchasing crack cocaine near her apartment in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
The cop was extremely joyful, when he found out who I was, to have made this arrest. If the press wanted to do to me what they’re doing to Anthony Weiner—I mean I didn’t cheat on my wife, hold my penis and send pictures. And actually, it ended up being a good thing because it stopped the run I may have gone on. My ex-husband [John Mc Enroe] is from here, and I moved with him.
He really wanted to make me feel bad and embarrass me, so that’s why he told the story about me trying to get out of it [by allegedly saying “Do you know who I am? I’d ask anybody to be in a situation like that, whether you’re getting a DUI or a speeding ticket, how they’d feel? One of the things that seemed to buoy you toward recovery is your move to L. For many people, New York City is such a populated place, but it often fosters a sense of loneliness and isolation because people are so self-involved. But there was no way that after all the custody fights, and after fighting so hard, I was going to leave with my kids still here, because that would mean I’d leave them with [Mc Enroe]. When Emily, my daughter, got into school in California, that was my time to move. But it’s just part of a shift, not the entire thing.
While the perils of child stardom in Hollywood have been well documented—from Judy Garland to Lindsay Lohan—few celebrity bildungsromans are as heartbreaking as that which befell Tatum O’Neal.