'I Almost Died': Tatum O'Neal Reveals She Was in a 6-Week Coma After Overdosing on Drugs in 2020

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Jul. 5 2023, Published 9:45 a.m. ET

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Tatum O'Neal is lucky to be alive.

In May 2020, the star, 59, overdosed on drugs and suffered a stroke, which left her in a six-week coma.

"I almost died," she said in a new interview of the day her friend found her in a Century City apartment and later rushed to the hospital.

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The blonde beauty's son Kevin McEnroe, 37, wasn't surprised when he heard the news. "It was the phone call we'd always been waiting for," he admitted. "She also had a cardiac arrest and a number of seizures. There were times we didn't think she was going to survive."

"She had become very isolated," Kevin noted of his mother, who had been using and abusing prescription medication amid the COVID-19 pandemic. "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.”

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It was unclear if O'Neal, who also shares Sean, 35, and Emily, 32, with ex John McEnroe, would ever fully recover.

"At times, it was touch and go,” Kevin said of their mother, who was later diagnosed with aphasia, a disorder that makes it hard to speak. “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,” Kevin recalled. “She couldn’t say, ‘I'm scared.’”

“I’ve been through a lot," O'Neal noted, adding that she's been in various rehab facilities in the past few years to regain her strength and memory.

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These days, O'Neal attends twelve step meetings and is under the care of a physician.

“Emotionally the things that made my mom want to take drugs in the first place, those things are still very present," Kevin stated. “She could always want sobriety as a mom, but she never really wanted it for herself.”

"She has embraced this attempt at recovery. She was always a very loving mom but when isolated, I think it was hard to find any love for herself," he continued.

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For her part, O'Neal said: “Every day I am trying. I want to be with my beautiful three kids.”

People conducted the interview.


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